WATCH: Storm Henri Hits SouthCoast
SouthCoast residents are hunkering down as Tropical Storm Henri, which was downgraded from a hurricane earlier today, batters the coast.
This morning, residents could be seen parking on East Rodney French Boulevard to look at the storm, with police routinely clearing onlookers from the coastal area as waves occasionally topped the path.
Entrances to the cove and harbor walks were closed off.
An official working at the New Bedford harbor hurricane barrier confirmed that the barrier was closed at 7:30 a.m. and will remain closed until further notice.
Barriers on East and West Rodney French Boulevards remained open to traffic.
The weather didn't stop some residents from going about their business, as people could be seen jogging with dogs and even cycling against the strong wind and rain.
One woman, Joanne Despres, was panhandling in a T-shirt at the intersection of Cove Road and Cove Street, with just a piece of plastic used as a hood to keep her head dry.
Meanwhile hundreds of utility crews and contractors gathered in the Dartmouth Mall parking lot awaiting orders, in preparation for downed trees and power lines across the region.
One worker speaking anonymously said that there were over 400 trucks gathered at one point, with utility workers from all over the eastern U.S. — including from as far away as Tennessee — there to help out.
Public works crews in Westport closed off Horseneck's East Beach Road to traffic as well as strong winds and waves battered the shore.
According to the National Weather Service, as of 11 a.m. the storm was located close to Block Island, with powerful winds driving strong waves and an expected storm surge of around 2-4 feet despite the outgoing tide.
Tropical Storm Henri is expected to turn towards the northwest this afternoon, a bulletin from the weather service stated.
As of 11 a.m. the maximum sustained winds from the storm were measured at around 60 miles per hour, with higher gusts.
Sustained wind speeds of 49 miles per hour were measured in Buzzards Bay, with a gust up to 57 miles per hour.
According to the weather service, a radio operator in Westport reported a 62 mile-per-hour gust.
The entire SouthCoast remains under a Storm Surge warning, meaning there is still a danger of life-threatening floods, as well as a Tropical Storm warning.
Residents are encouraged to stay at home all day Sunday through early Monday morning.