PORTSMOUTH – As Henri hit southern New England like a tropical storm on Sunday, it looked like Seacoast New Hampshire and York County, Maine would be spared the worst.
“It wasn’t a hurricane for very long, less than 24 hours,” said Nicki Becker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. “It has already been downgraded and by the time it reaches our region it will likely be downgraded again, in a tropical depression.”
On Sunday morning, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm before making landfall around 12:15 p.m. in Rhode Island with maximum sustained winds of around 60 mph. Around the same time, rains began on the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine. The first rains at Seacoast New Hampshire coincided with an astronomical midday high tide in places like Hampton Beach, where people gathered to watch the waves.
Becker said locally that the biggest impact from the storm which is expected to continue through Monday and into Tuesday would be heavy rains, higher tides and the potential for flooding, as well as winds of 15 to 20 mph can reach 40mph at times.
NWS said on Sunday the storm would bring hot and humid conditions at the start of the work week as Henri ascends the coast.
Live Updates:Rhode Island Tropical Storm Henri Reports
“Due to the overland flow, visibility along coastal areas will be reduced to three miles,” Becker said. “The rain is not coming from the lower layers but from above, which means that even if there are encrusted thunderstorms, you may not see them. The storm’s path is east to north. is, much like traditional nor’easters, to do is likely.
“It’s a slowly moving storm,” she said. “We will see the impacts of this until Tuesday morning.”
What people see on the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine
Astronomical high tides coincide with the storm. A U.S. ports advisory warned of high waves until 8 a.m. on Monday, with large breaking waves of 5 to 7 feet in coastal Rockingham County in New Hampshire and the coastal counties of York and from Cumberland, Maine.
“There will be dangerous swimming and surfing conditions and localized erosion of the beaches. Anyone walking along the shore should be aware of the large incoming waves, which could knock people down or take them into the sea,” warned the ‘opinion.
High tide arrived at 12:01 p.m. Sunday in Rye and Hampton. Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh said his department was more concerned about the late tide which would arrive at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.
“This is when the storm will be more prevalent here,” Walsh said. “With the astronomical tide and the storm, I think that will be the biggest tide. I suspect that we will see some beach erosion and splashing then. We are keeping an eye out for the usual areas that tend to be flooded.”
Previous story:Seacoast NH, York County, Maine, prepared for the impact of Hurricane Henri
Walsh said people came down to the beach to look at the water.
“I saw surfers there checking it out,” he said. “Again, I want to remind them and the other people who come down to respect the ocean. There will be ripples on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.”
Hampton Harbor Master Kevin Hanlon said most fishermen left their boats in the water.
“Things are pretty calm here,” he said. “I think most of us consider this to be one of our typical storms.”
Just in case there is an issue with the residents of Tri-City, the Strafford County Warming Center, usually on in cold weather during the winter, will be open at 5 p.m. on Sunday and will remain open until 8 a.m. Monday. It is located at 30 Willand Drive in Somersworth.
Megan Arsenault, deputy director of emergency management for York County, Maine, said officials are prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
“We opened our emergency operations center at 10 am,” she said. “We had a morning call with representatives from our 29 cities and our partner agencies, such as utility companies. We are monitoring the situation. We encourage our citizens to stay informed of alerts and to prepare accordingly.”
New Hampshire Update
The New Hampshire Department of Security’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management division said on Sunday it had activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center to monitor changes in the storm and support local communities.
Flood watch was in effect for parts of Hillsborough, Cheshire, Merrimack and Sullivan counties until Monday evening.
Key utility information
Unitil announced the opening on Sunday of its emergency operations center system to coordinate response efforts.
“We are expecting a long-lasting event, with possible dangerous conditions in our region for an extended period,” said Unitil’s director of media relations, Alec O’Meara. “Crews are prepared and will be ready to go when Henri crosses the region, with an emphasis on keeping roads clear and public safety. Windy conditions have the potential to bring wires to the ground. In the event of falling wires, assume all fallen or dangling cables and wires are under tension and stay clear. Be sure to avoid wet floors or puddles near a floor covering as water conducts electricity. Also, stay away from any flooded and debris laden areas as they can hide fallen lines. Stay in a safe location and avoid driving in damaged areas so as not to interfere with rescue and restoration efforts. “
Unitil customers experiencing outages should call 1-888-301-7700, or report the outages online at unitil.com/report-outage.
William Hinkle, spokesperson for Eversource, previously said customers are urged to stay away from broken wires and report them immediately to 911. Report any outage online at eversource.com or by calling 800-662-7764. Customers who have signed up for the company’s two-way SMS feature can send an SMS to report an outage and receive updates on outages as they occur. Customers can also download Eversource’s mobile app to report and verify outages.
Central Maine Power has an outage list and outage map and information on cmpco.com.
Kennebunk Light & Power District can be contacted at (207) 985-3311, (207) 985-1142 and klpd.org.