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Henri Inflicts The Northeast With Heavy Rain And Power Outages

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Residents of New York and southern New England are at risk of flooding Monday as more rain is expected in the region. Even though it was expected as a hurricane, Tropical Storm Henri made landfall near the Rhode Island-Connecticut border Sunday. But now downgraded to a tropical depression, it threatens to add more inches of rain to the area. Connecticut Public Radio's Frankie Graziano has been following Henri. Hi, Frankie.

FRANKIE GRAZIANO, BYLINE: Good morning, Leila.

FADEL: Good morning. So the storm was downgraded and wasn't as severe as many expected, but the threat of flooding continues. What can you tell us about what's happening right now?

GRAZIANO: Yeah, we're dealing with the remnants of the storm and kind of, again, another course change in the weather. So it seems to be stalling out over the area just a little bit - more of a situation where local roads here are saturated, so they're kind of ripe for flooding. So we'll be dealing with that today.

FADEL: So what happened in Rhode Island?

GRAZIANO: Yeah, Rhode Island got the situation a little worse than Connecticut. The storm made landfall right on the Rhode Island-Connecticut border. And there's a town called Westerley that's very close to Stonington, Conn. And essentially, Connecticut was on the other side of it, the wet side of the storm. So a lot of the wind, the gusty winds - I think it was 60 mile-per-hour sustained winds, something like that that the National Hurricane Center was reporting - was happening in Rhode Island. So they had more power outages. I think it was about 120,000, something like that. And there were more Rhode Island residents in the dark overnight than there were in Connecticut. Connecticut fared a little better for that, obviously, because of the fact that they didn't have the gusty winds. So a little more wet weather in Connecticut, didn't have that kind of wind component. But from what I understand, Rhode Island mostly will be in a situation where their power is restored by the middle of the week. That's what I've heard from their governor.

FADEL: OK. So you mentioned wet roads. How much flooding has there been?

GRAZIANO: That has been the main event, so to speak, in this. As I mentioned, the saturated roads - really cause for that. And that was a concern I had as I was on the ground yesterday. One big major thing that we had locally here is the Connecticut River kind of flooded out into what's called Interstate 91 in Wethersfield, Conn. So that was a big shut down. And then, of course, various streams and brooks throughout the state have flooded - again, not as bad as officials anticipated, which is a good thing. I was in one local town called Old Saybrook on the shoreline. They had been, Leila, walking around - fire personnel, emergency personnel had been walking around the town, kind of knocking on doors on Saturday with these pink evacuation orders, telling people that they had to go. And it looked like as - especially where the low lying areas were, that people kind of heeded that call in those low-lying areas. A big concern was folks getting kind of caught behind the storm. And if they had stayed home, maybe there wouldn't be local flooding in front of their house, but kind of egress roads would be flooding, so they wouldn't be able to leave. They'd be stranded.

FADEL: Now, nearly 20,000 people in Connecticut were in the dark Sunday night, tens of thousands in Rhode Island also without electricity, as you mentioned. But I understand those figures are much lower than local power companies anticipated. What was the expectation?

GRAZIANO: Sixty-nine percent of folks could have been without power. That was the estimation from a local power company. But what ended up happening was that just 2% of people were without power, and it looks like 90% of them will be online soon. So looks like good news for the local customers here of the power company.

FADEL: Connecticut Public Radio's Frank Graziano, thank you.

GRAZIANO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Frankie Graziano joined CPBN in October of 2011 as a sports producer. In addition to reporting for WNPR, Graziano produces feature profiles for CPTV and the web.