What’s worse: Wind or rain? What to know as Henri swoops in

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Waves pound a seawall in Montauk, N.Y., Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, as Tropical Storm Henri affects the Atlantic coast. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) — Henri was downgraded to a tropical storm ahead of its landfall Sunday in the Northeast. Here’s everything to know about this weekend’s weather that’s tropical in name, but far from its titular home:

IS HENRI STILL A HURRICANE?

No. The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm early Sunday, and it was weakening as it made landfall in Rhode Island at midday.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HURRICANE AND A TROPICAL STORM?

It’s all about the wind. Specifically, the sustained wind speeds. The maximum sustained winds for a hurricane is anything above 74 mph. A tropical storm? 73 mph.

As of early Sunday afternoon, Henri’s sustained winds topped out at 60 mph (96 kph), well below hurricane status.

But don’t write Henri off. The greatest threat from a storm this size is water. Heavy rains cause storm surges and inland flooding, and historically, those things have threatened life and property more than high winds.

WHAT AREAS IS HENRI SUPPOSED TO AFFECT?

Forecasters expect Henri to bank west now that it’s come ashore, dumping massive amounts of rain on Connecticut and New York’s Hudson River Valley, which could cause dangerous flooding. So far, the storm surge hasn’t been significant like it was with 2012′s Superstorm Sandy — the effects of which are still plaguing New York.

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