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Tropical Storm Henri Knocks Out Power In Connecticut, Rhode Island


The other emergency President Biden addressed was Tropical Storm Henri. It made landfall earlier today in Rhode Island, very close to the Connecticut border. The storm is making its way through Connecticut. And while it is - has caused flooding and left thousands without power, it appears to be going better than anticipated. Connecticut Public Radio's Frankie Graziano followed the storm along the Connecticut shoreline today, and he is with us now.

Welcome. Thank you for joining us.

FRANKIE GRAZIANO, BYLINE: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: So what's been Henri's impact there?

GRAZIANO: So it - I would have to say that, more than anything, Henri's been a bit of a nuisance in Connecticut in the fact that there has been some flooding. A major highway in Interstate 91 in Connecticut near the Connecticut River was shut down for flooding. And some homes in eastern Connecticut have dealt with power outages. But in the aggregate, I would say, in the last few days - Eversource, who is a major power company here, said that they expected up to 69% of their customers could lose power. The actual numbers in the last hour that I have looked, only around 2%. So certainly some good news there and that maybe the storm wasn't as bad as some expected it to be.

MARTIN: Well, that's good news. So the National Hurricane Center called for strong, gusty winds and flooding ahead of the storm. How are the roads looking now in Connecticut?

GRAZIANO: Yeah, so right now, there's actually a soft rain falling in Hartford, the capital. So as I was down in southeast Connecticut on the shoreline, earlier today, in the afternoon, it was actually sunny, and the roads were dry. So now as it's moving through Connecticut, as I mentioned, there's a soft rain. It's moving into northwest Connecticut as we speak. But earlier today, again, there was a lot of concern for flooding. And the roads, which have been saturated by a lot of rain this summer, were ripe for flooding. It's - just didn't appear that there was the kind of widespread flooding that they were expecting, obviously not the widespread power outages that they were expecting from the storm either.

MARTIN: And as the storm wraps up there, what are state officials saying?

GRAZIANO: State officials, the governor of Connecticut, saying that it's moving through northwest Connecticut. He did lift a travel ban that he had for certain vehicles on certain major roadways. That was in effect until 5 p.m. He still is asking folks to stay off road, advising them to stay home and try to stay safe.

MARTIN: So (unintelligible) - sorry. Frankie, tell me more about just what the atmosphere has been in recent days there, because this is - this was considered to be an event, a weather event, that people in your part of the world had not experienced for some three decades and that there was a lot of anxiety. So just give me a sense of what it's been like.

GRAZIANO: A lot of what comes up is Superstorm Sandy that happened back in 2012, Tropical Storm Irene that happened back in 2011 - again, not kind of events that we experience here in the Northeast. This storm making landfall in Rhode Island was pretty unique and it having maximum sustained winds around 60 miles per hour. So that was concern enough for folks. And people thought, obviously, that the - that it was going to be worse. So I was trying to get some D batteries at the store to try to make sure that I can get out report - and some other things. But for folks, it seemed like there was a lot of prepping and a lot of planning, which was good, but not the kind of flooding and storm that we had imagined that it could be.

MARTIN: So not as bad as feared - that's always good news.

GRAZIANO: It is very much so. And as I mentioned...


GRAZIANO: ...The worst gusty wind I had seen recently was something like 44 miles...


GRAZIANO: ...Per hour, so...

MARTIN: All right. That is...

GRAZIANO: ...Yeah, not as bad.

MARTIN: That is Connecticut Public Radio's Frankie Graziano. Frankie, thank you.

GRAZIANO: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYCHO'S "COASTAL BRAKE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

If you read any of Frankie Graziano’s previous biographies, they’d be all about his passion for sports. But times change – and he’s a family man now.