Live Updates: Henri makes landfall on Rhode Island

Henri, now a tropical storm, made landfall near Westerly, Rhode Island, just after noon ET on Sunday. The storm lashed the northeastern U.S. coastline Sunday morning, packing high winds and heavy rains that were projected to leave a wide swath of devastation from New Jersey and New York to Massachusetts.

The storm made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and central pressure of 989 mb, the National Weater Service said. 

The storm was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but still packed wind gusts of up to 75 mph. Officials warned of the danger of widespread flooding in inland areas as the storm was expected to sweep west from the coast before turning back to the Northeast.

The storm had top winds of 60 mph in an 11 a.m. ET update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center, just shy of hurricane status. The storm was about 15 miles east of Montauk, New York.

Millions on New York’s Long Island and in southern New England braced for the possibility of flooding, toppled trees and extended power outages. Residents up and down the coast hoped to be spared the storm’s wrath but prepared for the worst.

Driving surf and sheets of rain scoured the beach towns of southern Rhode Island as the storm approached, leaving some coastal roads nearly impassable. Some small trees had already fallen to the winds and rain, which had swollen local inlets and creeks.

President Biden declared disasters in much of the region, opening the purse strings for federal recovery aid. The president is set to discuss recovery efforts at the White House on Sunday afternoon.

A satellite image from NOAA shows Henri along the East Coast of the U.S. on Sunday, August 22, 2021. NOAA/NESDIS/STAR GOES-East