Although the exact path of the tropical storm is unknown at this point, the Town employs a "better safe than sorry" approach when it comes to Henri.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 712-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GETTING READY FOR TROPICAL STORM HENRI
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AUGUST 19, 2021) – The Town of Middletown is prepping for Tropical Storm Henri.
Although it’s a bit early to know exactly where the storm was heading, Town officials met this afternoon in the Town Hall conference room to make sure everything was ready -- just in case.
Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown asked everyone to be prepared to secure loose items and take other measures to try to limit wind and flooding damage.
Based on some forecasts, Henri is projected to hit locally Sunday afternoon, bringing surf up to 14 feet and 70 mph winds. Staff will have a Friday morning meeting to go over the latest data and determine if changes were needed.
“It’s like all of these things,” Brown said. “We’ll have to wait and see and get a better idea about where it’s going to go before we have a firm plan.”
This is the second major storm that’s threatened Middletown this season. Tropical Storm Elsa largely fizzled out in early July, bringing rain and winds, but minimal damages thankfully.
Not wanting to overreact or underestimate Henri, Town staff across the board said they’d be prepared for the worst. Police Chief William Kewer and Fire Chief James Peplau said they’d have extra personnel working if the storm was tracking towards southern New England and on call otherwise.
Public Works Director Robert Hanley said his crew had been going around Town, buttoning up low laying areas and preparing equipment like chainsaws in case they’re needed. Sewer pump stations were also checked to make sure their generators were online if the power goes out.
Beach Manager Mike McGourty and other Town staff were ready to shut down Second and Third beaches if that was necessary. As of late Thursday, the beaches will remain open Friday and into the weekend, but that could change depending on Henri’s track. The Town needs about a day to break down its beach operations and to remove lifeguard chairs and the like, if that decision is made.
Will Cronin, the town’s Operations & Facility Manager, said there would be outreach to those who have boats in the mooring field off Third Beach as well as those who store kayaks and other small watercraft there. Campers who stay at the Second Beach Family Campground would also be notified to be prepared for the storm. As of this afternoon, no mandatory evacuation order was in place.
“One thing we all know is the surfers will be out no matter what,” Kewer said. “Like everyone else, we ask that they be smart and safe in any weather.”
“We’ve checked our generator and it’s ready in case we need it,” Peplau said. “The (Emergency Operations Center) is also all set and can be mobilized immediately if we need it.”
“With these storms, you never know,” Hanley said. “We want to be as ready as we can be.”