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Tropical Storm Henri had a minimal effect on Long Island. That means LIPA is out the $59 million it spent to prepare

This OES-16 East GeoColor satellite image taken Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at 11:40 a.m. EDT., and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Henri in the Atlantic Ocean.
NOAA via AP
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This OES-16 East GeoColor satellite image taken Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at 11:40 a.m. EDT., and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Henri in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Long Island Power Authority spent $59 million preparing for Tropical Storm Henri this summer, but the utility will have to eat that cost since the federal government won’t reimburse it.

Local utilities can get federal reimbursement for storm preparation costs only “if an event happens,” Tom Falcone, LIPA’s CEO, told Newsday. LIPA had brought in over 2,700 utility workers as Henri barreled up the coast so that power could be quickly restored after the storm passed.

Weather models had predicted a direct hit for Long Island, but the storm shifted slightly. Ultimately, Henri caused minimal damage and less than 5,000 power outages — a low number compared to 40,000 outages after this week’s tornadoes and almost 650,000 after Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020.

Still, Falcone called the storm preparations the “right thing to do.”

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.