Tropical Storm Henri Forces New England Casino Closures

Posted on: August 22, 2021, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: August 22, 2021, 11:01h.

Casinos in the northeast closed on Sunday, as Tropical Storm Henri was expected to strafe Long Island before slamming into Southern New England.

Tropical Storm Henri
A television graphic shows the path Tropical Storm Henri was expected to take early this week. Some regional casinos temporarily closed during the storm. (Image: WCVB-TV)

At Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., the Great Cedar and Rainmaker casinos were closed Sunday because of the storm, according to the resort’s website. The Grand Pequot Tower casino remained opened.

Foxwoods announced on its website that it is waiving the hotel cancellation fee through Tuesday.

Also in Connecticut, the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville announced on its website that the racebook was closed because of severe weather. The poker room would remain closed until Monday at 10 am.

In Rhode Island, the Twin River and Tiverton casinos were closed Sunday, according to WJAR-TV. Both were expected to reopen Monday morning.

At Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel in Islandia on Long Island, the casino remained open on Sunday, a reservations employee told over the telephone. The hotel was completely booked on Sunday.

In Massachusetts, Encore Boston Harbor remained open on Sunday, with no plans to close the casino or hotel because of the weather, a telephone operator at the resort told

Strong Winds

As it approached landfall early Sunday, Henri was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, according to the Associated Press. 

Tropical storms reach hurricane status when sustained wind speeds hit 74 mph and above. While Henri had wind gusts on Sunday of up to 75 mph, its maximum sustained winds were at 70 mph as it barreled toward Rhode Island.

Early Sunday, the storm threatened to uproot trees, cause massive flooding, and knock power out for millions of people in the region.

“Henri is bringing dangerous storm surge inundation, damaging winds, heavy rainfall and flooding to Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts,” the National Weather Service stated on its website. “Heavy rainfall may also lead to flooding well inland across parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and much of New Jersey. Conditions will slowly improve across the region by Tuesday.”

This weekend, Gov. Ned Lamont (D)  urged Connecticut residents to “shelter in place” from Sunday through at least Monday morning, the Associated Press reported. In Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed an advance emergency declaration on Friday seeking federal assistance.

The last full-strength hurricane to hit New England was in August 1991, when Hurricane Bob killed 17 people and caused $1.5 billion in damage, according to the Associated Press. In September 1985, Hurricane Gloria clobbered Long Island and Connecticut, killing eight people and causing $1 billion in damages.

Destructive Hurricane Season

This year, 18 named storms are predicted to develop in the Atlantic Basin during hurricane season. The average from 1991 to 2020 has been 15. As many as five of these storms this year are projected to be major hurricanes. 

The hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. 

In July, Tropical Storm Elsa plowed up the Gulf of Mexico before slamming into North Florida. The storm forced the temporary closure of the Tampa Bay Downs racetrack poker room and racebook.

Last year, several destructive storms battered Louisiana and Mississippi.

Colorado State University scientists said one reason for this increase in storms is that warmer-than-average Atlantic waters are “providing fuel” for the turbulent weather, according to CBS News.