Tropical Storm Watch for Local Waters and Coast

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — Hermine is a post-tropical storm but COULD go back into a hurricane over the next few days.  A Tropical Storm Watch is now in effect for the immediate shoreline and the waters of Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic.

The storm became the first hurricane to hit the Florida coast in more than a decade when it struck at about 2 a.m. Friday, bringing downpours and storm-force winds that left behind a trail of damage.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said a homeless man was killed when he was hit by a tree. Tens of thousands of residents lost power as Hermine pushed into Georgia.

The Pinpoint Weather Team is tracking the local impacts of Tropical Storm Hermine. Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo will have a live look at the latest tonight on Eyewitness News.

Local Impacts

According to the Pinpoint Weather Team, one thing that is certain is that large surf, swells, and dangerous rip currents will impact the coast starting Sunday and extending through Monday and Tuesday.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the immediate shores of Narragansett Bay and the south coast.  It is NOT in effect for inland area.

As of right now, the most likely scenario is the storm will put Southern New England on the northern fringe of rain and wind by Sunday night into Monday. Rainfall of a few inches and wind gusts of 35 to 50 mph at the coast are expected, along with some minor coastal flooding.

National Grid said there is a potential for power outages. Beginning Sunday evening, National Grid plans to have 40 crews on call and is also planning to bring 86 outside contractors to New England.

“We’ve been following the path of the storm for several days and right now there’s still a great deal of uncertainty to the path of the storm and the severity of the storm when it hits New England or even if it hits New England,” said David Graves of National Grid. “Despite that, we’ve had to plan for the worst as we always do.”

For more on National Grid’s response, watch Kelly Sullivan’s report in the video below. 

It’s not yet clear if ferry services will be impacted for the upcoming weekend. The Block Island Ferry does not plan to discontinue services at this time, but said it will closely monitor the storm’s progress and provide updates. In New Bedford, officials say they plan to close the hurricane barrier – potentially impacting Seastreak ferries to both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Be Prepared

Although it appears as though Tropical Storm Hermine will not hit the region directly, the Red Cross strongly encourages residents to always be prepared for severe impacts.

Be sure to download the Pinpoint Weather and Eyewitness News apps to get storm updates sent right to your phone.

Residual Impacts

Businesses in Southern New England normally bank on Labor Day weekend for an influx of money, but right now they’re bracing for Hermine’s impact and a potential loss of revenue.

Hotel cancellations are already coming in in Newport as the storm makes its way north.

“It’s a huge weekend for us and a washout costs us a lot of money,” said Evan Smith, the president and CEO of Discover Newport, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting all things in the city.

According to Smith, the city expects to welcome in hundreds of thousands of people during the holiday weekend, bringing in millions of dollars between hotels, shopping, and restaurants.

“Everyone I think is praying to the weather gods that the storm goes away and everybody can get out and enjoy the best of Rhode Island,” he added.

Smith’s advice for those planning on visiting Newport is to check the forecast diligently. He said you may not have to cancel your plans as early as you may think.

“We want to encourage people that they’re watching TV and checking their smartphones to make sure that they’re getting the latest on the weather and that they’re not prematurely canceling their plans because there’s a good chance this could go out to sea as well,” said Smith.

When a significantly bad storm is forecast, hotels could experience up to a 30 percent cancellation rate, which equates to a loss in revenue measuring in the millions.

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