Large amounts of rain fell on parts of the Northeast on Sunday, Aug. 22 as Hurricane Henri—which was downgraded to a tropical storm shortly before it made landfall—passed through New England. On Monday, Aug. 23, the storm progressed inland towards New York. The storm downgraded to a tropical depression once it hit landfall in Rhode Island.
What is the difference between a hurricane, tropical storm, and tropical depression?
It is all about the sustained winds. A tropical depression has sustained winds reaching a maximum of about 38 mph. A tropical storm is the next leg up, with winds reaching about 39-73 mph. Once winds reach over 73 mph, a storm is considered a hurricane at the lowest category, category 1.
Category 1 hurricanes have winds reaching about 74 mph-95 mph, which is what Hurricane Henri was considered before it reached landfall.
Category 2 hurricanes have winds reaching about 96 mph-110 mph, which is what Hurricane Bob was considered when it hit New England.
Category 3 winds reach about 111 mph-129 mph. Hurricane Bob was classified as a category 3 hurricane before it was downgraded to a category 2.
Category 4 hurricanes have winds reaching about 130 mph-156 mph. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 was a category 4 hurricane when it made landfall in Houston.
Category 5 hurricanes have winds that reach about 157 mph or higher. Hurricane Katrina is one of the most famous category 5 hurricanes, devastating New Orleans in 2005.
Once Henri made landfall, the storm traveled west, hitting primarily in Connecticut and New York Hudson River Valley, with some parts hitting New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Parts of Massachusetts were also hit, mostly in the western part of the state. Henri hit Rhode Island with winds of up to 60 mph; by late afternoon on Sunday, Aug. 22, Henri’s winds had lowered to about 30 mph.
Tropical storm Henri, if it had hit landfall as a hurricane, would have been the first hurricane to hit New England in 30 years.
The last hurricane to hit landfall in the region was Hurricane Bob in 1991, or Hurricane Gloria which hit Connecticut and Long Island in 1985. Hurricane Bob was a category 3 hurricane with its winds reaching 115 mph. When it hit New England, it was a category 2 hurricane. Hurricane Gloria was a category 4 hurricane, weakening shortly before it hit landfall in Long Island.
Henri is not the first tropical storm or hurricane to hit Rhode Island, with the state being hit with Hurricane Bob in 1991, Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
According to the National Weather Service, 1.94 inches of rainfall fell on Central Park in New York. The Associated Press reported over 140,000 homes experienced power outages.
Flooding was reported in parts of New York and New Jersey, such as Brooklyn, Hoboken, and Newark. There was also reported flooding in New York City on Aug. 21.
Reports of tornadoes, triggered by Henri, were reported in eastern Massachusetts between Worcester and Boston. There were three tornadoes in total, ranking as EF0 twisters.
Cleanup in places that were hit by Henri is underway, and many homes that were without power right after the storm are regaining power. Early in the week of Aug. 22, shortly after Henri died down, homes in Connecticut were regaining power.