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Podcast: Rhode Island exhales after Henri

R.I. Emergency Management Agency Director Marc Pappas discusses the toll that the tropical storm took on the state -- and how it could have been worse

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency director Marc Pappas, center, speaks from the podium about Tropical Storm Henri.Handout

PROVIDENCE — The state’s point man for natural disasters, Marc Pappas, called into the Rhode Island Report podcast this week to provide an update on the damage caused by Tropical Storm Henri.

Pappas, director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, spoke while touring the state with US Senator Jack Reed and Governor Daniel J. McKee, and during the call he reported that a nearby telephone pole was on fire.

Pappas said he was seeing a lot of trees and power lines down, and tens of thousands of people lost power, especially in coastal communities such as South Kingstown and Charlestown.

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“Thankfully, no injuries or deaths as a result of the impact of the storm,” he said. “I think what happened was as the storm approached the coast, it hit cooler waters, it backed off on the intensity of the storm, and that saved us.”

Also, Pappas said the state avoided greater damage from storm surge because Henri did not hit at high tide.

On the podcast, Globe Rhode Island reporter Carlos R. Muñoz also provided his first-hand accounts of covering the weekend storm.

He described nearly being hit by flying shingles near Salty Brine State Beach, in Narragansett. He recounted the intense winds and sea foam coming over the sea wall near Narragansett Town Beach. And he reported on seeing Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore near the Coast Guard House Restaurant.

Muñoz also compared the aftermath of Henri to the wreckage he saw while reporting on hurricanes in Florida. While some social media posts dismissed Henri as a dud, he reminded us that tropical storms can take lives and ruin lives.

“If that storm had come in and done the damage that it could have done,” Muñoz said, “it would have hurt people. It would have destroyed homes and changed lives.”

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Hear more by downloading the latest episode of Rhode Island Report, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and other podcasting platforms, or listen in the player below:


Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.