Henri’s lazy remnants hinder cleanup, threaten inland floods

Northeast

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) — Residents across the waterlogged Northeast began clearing mud and tearing out sodden carpets Monday after deluges dropped by Tropical Storm Henri, whose remnants threatened further flooding in New England as the system made a slow trek back to the sea.

The slow and sprawling storm system named Henri drenched much of the inland Northeast with rain Monday, hampering cleanup efforts and threatening further flooding in areas with ground already saturated from a wet summer.

The smell of sewage filled the air as residents of Rossmoor, a retirement community in central New Jersey’s Monroe Township, returned to soaked homes and ruined possessions after Henri turned their streets into rivers.

Roseann and John Kiernan said they’d have to likely toss their appliances, tear up walls and carpets and replace their car after their house filled with nearly 2 feet of water on Sunday.

“This is what we were left with. Nothing, nothing,” lamented Roseann Kiernan. “They told us that everything has to go.”

Downpours and flooding were possible Monday in New England, where officials fretted that just a few more inches would be a back-breaker following a summer of record rainfall.

In Manchester, Connecticut, a Hartford suburb some 40 miles from the coast, Annette Landry hoped Monday’s rains wouldn’t repeat the flooding that left three units in her condominium complex under a few inches of water Sunday.

Firefighters said they helped evacuate 18 homes and performed several rescues after Henri dumped about 5 inches of rain in town, the highest total in the state.

“It was a tragedy that this happened because the people who live here are people who can ill afford to live anywhere else,” said Landry, a 72-year-old retiree whose second-floor home was spared from the flooding from the overflowing Hop Brook. “It has never been this bad. I’ve lived here 40 years.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont planned Monday to tour storm damage in Canterbury, where hundreds of homes and businesses lost power.

More rain was forecast in New Jersey, where much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) had already fallen in some areas by Sunday and some areas were trying to clean up.

In the central New Jersey community of Helmetta, some 200 residents fled for higher ground, taking refuge in hotels or with friends and family, as flood waters inundated their homes Sunday.

In Jamesburg, Henri flooded downtown streets and almost submerged cars. In Newark, Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara said police and firefighters rescued 86 people in 11 incidents related to the storm.

Parts of New York’s Hudson Valley, north of New York City, had gotten 4 inches of rain by Monday morning and had no power and flooded roads. An additional couple of inches of rain was possible, and flood watches remained in effect.

Hundreds of customers had no power in Maine, but outages were minimal in Vermont and New Hampshire by Monday morning.

The National Hurricane Center said Henri’s remnants were expected to stall near the Connecticut-New York state line, creep eastward through New England and eventually push out to the Atlantic Ocean. Rainfall from 1 to 3 inches was forecast over much of the area.

In the Catskills region of New York, Hunter Town Supervisor Daryl Legg believed his mountain community, which was devastated by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, would be able to weather the slow-moving storm.

“I think we escaped any kind of danger so far only because of the length of time it took for the storm to move through,” he said. “This has been a 24-hour period, so it’s not really the same storm, thank goodness.”

But downpours, flooding and even tornadoes were still possible in New England, where officials fretted that just a few more inches would be a back-breaker following a summer of record rainfall.

“The ground is so saturated with water that every inch of rain creates immediate floods and flash floods,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday after seeing damage in the community of Canterbury, where nearly every home lost power.

No deaths have been attributed to Henri, but thousands remained without power across the region as crews scrambled to remove toppled trees and power lines through Monday.

President Joe Biden has declared disasters in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut, opening the purse strings for federal recovery aid to those states.

Annette Landry, a resident of Manchester, Connecticut, a Hartford suburb some 40 miles inland, hoped Monday’s rains wouldn’t be a repeat of the deluge that left three units in her condo complex under a few inches of water Sunday.

Firefighters said they helped evacuate 18 homes and made several rescues after Henri dumped about 5 inches of rain.

“It was a tragedy that this happened because the people who live here are people who can ill afford to live anywhere else,” said Landry, a 72-year-old retiree whose second-floor home was spared.

In central New Jersey, Dolores Hebert was still shaken Monday after being ferried to safety by boat with her dog and cat as 8 inches of rain fell and water surged through the streets in Rossmoor.

“I was sleeping and when I woke up, it was up to my knees,” the 76-year-old said as she stood by a front door bearing 18-inch-high watermarks. “I didn’t know what to do. I panicked.”

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