Henri blows by; ferries return to service

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Updated 8 pm

Islanders woke up Sunday to rain, wind gusts, and the tropical feel of Tropical Storm Henri, which arrived early this morning.

By the time it made landfall in Rhode Island, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Though the storm moved more to the east than Saturday’s forecast indicated, it packed little punch on the Island. 

Thomas Hodgson, who collects data for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow for the National Weather Service, told The Times the storm dropped .42 inches of rain on the Vineyard. “Hardly a deluge, but welcome moisture,” he wrote.

The Steamship Authority canceled most of its ferries Sunday, but resumed crossings as of 5 pm.

Once the ferries went back in service, a traffic jam ensued. People reported on social media spending more than two hours trying to make it from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven. The Tisbury Police posted on Facebook that it was taking 45 minutes to get from Main Street to Five Corners.

The south side of the Vineyard saw some pounding surf and erosion. Edgartown closed Atlantic Drive and many of the Island’s beach parking lots were closed — though that didn’t stop curious storm watchers.

In Oak Bluffs, the gusty winds toppled a climbing oak tree at Niantic Park. Hallie MacCormack, the daughter of Associate Publisher Jamie Kageleiry, said all of her Oak Bluffs school mates are upset about it: “That’s our childhood climbing tree. I’m really sad about it.”

Oak Bluffs parks commissioner Amy Billings told The Times in an email the large Niantic Park tree received significant damage during the storm.

“It did, it’s so sad, we will have an arborist look at it first but it doesn’t look good,” Billings said. Later in the day, Billings said the tree can’t be saved.

Things were quiet in the sheltered harbor of Vineyard Haven for much of Sunday.

The change in Henri’s track forced the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society to rethink opening the fairgrounds today for the fourth and final day of the 159th edition. The Times has confirmed the fair will be closed on Sunday. “The fair will be closed today. The weather has forced our hand,” a Facebook post states.

Some Islanders woke up to power outages. At 6:30 am 448 customers were without electricity, according to Eversource. By 9:30, fewer than five customers were still dealing with power outages. A fleet of utility trucks is staged at the old fire station lot in Vineyard Haven.

Ahead of the storm, the Island Queen and HyLine canceled all of their Sunday crossings. 

This story will be updated throughout the day.

1 COMMENT

  1. Boston 8:30 AM. Fine drizzle, and you can hear the wind picking up. Thought I’d walk to gym this AM. Having second thoughts. Taxi? Try and get one today — not likely.

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