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Tropical Storm Henri upgraded to HURRICANE as it bears down on US Northeast

Severe weather warnings have been issued across the northeastern US, as Hurricane Henri tracks northwest across the Atlantic. Henri was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center on Saturday morning, and is expected to make landfall on Sunday. 

Should it hit Long Island, it will be the first hurricane to strike there since Gloria in 1985. If it makes landfall in New England, it will be the first hurricane to do so since Bob in 1991, which killed 15 people and racked up a bill of more than $1.5 billion in damages.

Henri is currently bringing wind speeds of around 75mph (120kph) toward the US, and is expected to strengthen as it nears land. Storm surge warnings have been issued from New York to Massachusetts. The governors in these states, as well as in Connecticut and Rhode Island, have advised against unnecessary travel. Connecticut and Massachusetts have also called up members of the National Guard to active duty in preparation for Henri’s arrival.

Heavy rainfall is expected, with the National Hurricane Center warning of up to 10 inches of rainfall in some areas. “Heavy rainfall from Henri may result in considerable flash, urban, and small stream flooding,” the center advised, adding that “a tornado or two” may occur in New England on Sunday.

New England is already sodden after several weeks of heavy rainfall. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell told CNN on Saturday that these waterlogged conditions mean Henri could easily uproot trees and power lines, potentially leading to days of outages.

“We’re going to see power outages, we’re going to see downed trees, and even after the storm has passed, the threat of falling trees and limbs is still out there,” she said.

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