Tropical Storm Henri is set to hit New York state as a Category 1 hurricane sustained wind speeds of up to 85pmh and gusts of up to 100mph as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declares a State of Emergency.
In a briefing on Saturday afternoon, Cuomo warned that Hurricane Henri is ‘as serious as a heart attack’ and New York residents in parts of Long Island, particularly Fire Island, need to prepare to evacuate to higher ground as soon as possible.
‘We have short notice. We’re talking about tomorrow. If you have to move, if you have to stock up, if you have to get to higher ground it has to be today,’ Cuomo said.
He added that the storm is predicted to be as dangerous as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, ‘so, this is as serious as a heart attack’.
The State of Emergency is in place for Long Island, New York City, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley and the Capital Region.
Cuomo said Henri is forecasted to make landfall 7am on Sunday with the eye of the storm passing over Long Island by 11am. The storm is expected to batter the state for 26 hours before it subsides around 2pm on Monday.
He added that there will be delays or cancellations to flights, and that passengers should check with their airlines to see if their travel plans were still on track. In Long Island, most train services will be suspended from midnight and the MTA is considering shutting down the Harlem line.
At least 500 National Guard troops will be deployed today, and the State Police will have 1,000 staff on duty.
A satellite image taken Saturday at 8am shows Hurricane Henri barreling towards New England where it is expected to make landfall on Sunday
Models from the Czech meteorological company VentuSky show Henri developing into a hurricane before it passes over western Long Island before hitting Manhattan
Forecasters predict the dangerous storm surge between three and six-feet could occur as early as late Saturday in portions of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, putting more than 40 million people under a weather warning.
The storm surge and tide could cause high water in coastal New England as Henri moves inland, while heavy rain and wind may also produce flooding.
Henri was veering a bit further west than originally expected and if it stays on this track, it would have eastern Long Island in its bullseye rather than New England, which hasn’t taken a direct hit from a hurricane in 30 years.
In 1991 Hurricane Bob in 1991 – a Category 2 storm – killed at least 17 people.
Flooding is expected to begin in New York City late Saturday or early Sunday nine years after the Big Apple was battered by Hurricane Sandy.
Cuomo said Sandy was also a Category 1 hurricane when it hit the state in 2012 and ‘this is projected to be that level of storm’,
‘We saw creeks turn into raging rivers,’ the governor added. He activated 500 National Guard troops and 1,000 state police personnel to work in the areas that are predicted to be effected.
A Tropical Storm Warning for New York City has been issued and is effective until further notice.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted ‘heavy rainfall may lead to considerable flash, urban and small stream flooding’ as well as ‘moderate river flooding’ in parts of Long Island, New England, southeast New York and northern New Jersey.
‘Swells from Henri will continue to affect much of the east coast of the US during the next day or two. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and tip currents,’ the NOAA warned in an advisory they issued Saturday morning.
Rainfall between three and six inches is expected Sunday through Monday and the hurricane’s center storm surge could reach up to five feet from Flushing, New York, to Chatham, Massachusetts; and for parts of the North Shore and South Shore of Long Island.
Regardless of its exact landfall the hurricane is expected impact large swaths of the Northeast, extending inland to Hartford, Connecticut; Albany, New York; and eastward to Cape Cod, which is teeming with tens of thousands of summer tourists.
City beaches in New York, among others, have closed through Monday.
New York state park officials were building a wall of sand along the boardwalk at Jones Beach to protect it against surging tides, said George Gorman, the regional director for state parks on Long Island.
The wall was being built with equipment obtained in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which caused substantial damage to beaches that took months to reopen, he said.
Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker urged people vacationing on the Cape to leave well before Henri hits. He told those who planned to start vacations there to delay their plans.
‘We don’t want people to be stuck in traffic on the Cape Cod bridges when the storm is in full force on Sunday,’ he added.
Baker said up to 1,000 National Guard troops were on standby in Massachusetts to help with evacuations if needed.
More than 40million people are under hurricane threat
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned that swells from the hurricane can cause ‘life-threatening surf and rip currents’
Connecticut Gov Ned Lamont warned residents they should prepare to ‘shelter in place’ from Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning as the state braces for the first possible direct hit from a hurricane in decades.
Models from the Czech meteorological company VentuSky show Henri developing into a Category 1 hurricane before it passes over western Long Island before hitting Manhattan and continuing into upstate New York.
The National Weather Service in New York updated storm surge watches and warnings for the local region at 11am on Saturday showing storm surge warnings for parts of the Bronx and Queens boroughs of New York City and other areas.
They did not say how big those surges could be, but earlier warnings for New England warned Cape Cod to brace for between three and five feet of water.
Winds have sped up to 75mph as Henri moved up the northeast at 14mph.
Regardless of its exact landfall the hurricane is expected impact large swaths of the Northeast, extending inland to Hartford, Connecticut; Albany, New York; and eastward to Cape Cod
Henri was veering a bit further west than originally expected and if it stays on this track, it would have eastern Long Island in its bullseye rather than New England
According to the National Ocean Service, a storm surge is the abnormal rise in seawater level caused by a storm’s winds pushing water onshore – and is measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide.
While all New York City beaches will be closed on Sunday and Monday, officials told the New York Post that a ‘homecoming’ concert at Central Park was still scheduled for Saturday as of late Friday evening.
A total of 60,000 people will cram into Central Park to watch acts including Jennifer Hudson, Barry Manilow and Bruce Springsteen.
Henri’s track has been imprecise, leading New Englanders to brace for their first possible hurricane in 30 years earlier on Friday.
Weather agencies took to Twitter to warn people of flooding and extended power outages
Flooding is expected to begin in New York City late Saturday or early Sunday nine years after the Big Apple was battered by Hurricane Sandy
Huge clouds were seen over Manhattan on Friday as the Tropical Storm Henri expected to arrive in New York City
Residents in New England were seen hauling boats out of the water and taking other precautions earlier on Friday as Tropical Storm Henri barreled toward them before appearing to change course.
‘This storm is extremely worrisome,’ said Michael Finkelstein, police chief and emergency management director in East Lyme, Connecticut.
‘We haven’t been down this road in quite a while and there’s no doubt that we and the rest of New England would have some real difficulties with a direct hit from a hurricane.’
Emergency personnel rescue residents from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey in 2012
Homes in Fenwick Island, Delaware are surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy
Dozens of destroyed homes and vehicles after a fire caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York City in 2012
Finkelstein said he’s most concerned about low-lying areas of town that could become impossible to access because of flooding and a storm surge.
Thursday marked exactly 30 years since Hurricane Bob came ashore in Rhode Island as a Category 2 storm, killing at least 17 people and leaving behind more than $1.5 billion worth of damage.
Bob, which left streets in coastal towns littered with boats blown free of their moorings, knocked out power and water to hundreds of thousands for days.
New York hasn’t had a direct hit from a major hurricane season storm since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012.
Henri’s track has been imprecise, leading New Englanders to brace for their first possible hurricane in 30 years earlier on Friday
Ace hardware owner Kevin Simoneau shows photos of damage caused by Hurricane Bob over 30 years ago to customer Cheryl Fisher as she shops in preparation for Henri
In the Hamptons, the celebrity playground on Long Island’s east end, officials warned of dangerous rip currents and flooding that´s likely to turn streets, like mansion-lined Dune Road on the Atlantic coast, into lagoons.
Ryan Murphy, the emergency management administrator for the Town of Southampton, said that while the storm’s track continues to evolve, ‘we have to plan as if it’s going to be like a Category 1 hurricane that would be hitting us.’
The Coast Guard has urged boaters along the East Coast to stay off the water, saying in a statement: ‘The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed.’
The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed on the storm’s track.