Town Prepares for Henri

by | Aug 20, 2021

The tropical storm is predicted to gain hurricane strength before it reaches land Saturday night

UPDATE: According to weather reports at noon Saturday, Henri has become a hurricane, but it seems to be veering westward, possibly sparing Rhode Island the worst effects of the storm, with landfall Sunday. You can follow the National Hurricane Center reports HERE.

It was like a little electrical current was running through East Greenwich Friday, with the news of a possible hurricane hitting southern New England for the first time since Hurricane Bob in 1991. As of Friday early evening, Tropical Storm Henri (silent “H”!) was on track to hit Long Island and Connecticut sometime early Sunday, but with the storm surge, wind and rainfall having the potential to cause significant damage to Rhode Island as well.

Down at the town boat launch on Crompton Avenue Friday evening, smaller power boats were getting pulled out of the water and one couple was strapping their dinghy onto the roof of their car, moving it to a safer location. They had already done what they could to secure their sailboat, on a town mooring a little higher up in the cove.

Glen Giese of Plainville, Mass., had taken the smaller sail and the sun shade and put them down in below. “The main sail, I just wrap a line around it snug to keep it from flapping. Seeing as it’s not a really big storm, I’ll do that. If it was a cat 4 or 5, I’d take the main sail off and put that down below too. For the mooring line I put some chafing gear on the line, a piece of canvas to help it take the abrasion. Turn the bilge pump on automatic and go home and have a beer,” he said.

Nearby, a powerboat was getting pulled out of the water, with a couple trailers lined up to get more boats.

Giese and his wife Renee have been driving down to Greenwich Cove for years, “because Rhode Island is one of the most beautiful places to sail.”

While Greenwich Cove is protected, the anticipated storm surge could wreck havoc. But for Town Manager Andy Nota, the biggest worry is the town’s extensive tree canopy.

“Most likely, we could see tree damage and power loss. Flooding concerns too, on certain roadways,” he said. Preparing the town for a big storm is like preparing your own home, only on a bigger level – making sure vehicles are fueled up, machines like chain saws and wood chippers are in good working order, checking storm drains. 

“It will be our DPW crews who will really be leading the way,” said Nota. 

For residents, that means making sure your cars have gas. If you have a generator, make sure you have fuel to power it. Put away or secure outdoor furniture and clean gutters if you can (but be careful with the ladder!). Pull out your flashlights and make sure you have batteries for them. If you rely on well water, that means filling up a bathtub or two or some large water containers. Charge all your electronics, make sure you have a couple of days worth of food on hand. And check with that elderly neighbor to make sure they are prepared too. Here’s a link to what you might need in case of emergency.

Keep in touch. Let us know what’s happening in your part of town. Let us know if you need help. Email [email protected] or text/call (401) 749-3115.

Boat coming out of water at town boat launch Friday evening.

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