Hurricane Henri Closes in as Northeast U.S. Prepares for Impact

Hurricane Henri continued its course early Sunday morning to crash into a long stretch of the Northeast coast as millions on New York’s Long Island and southern New England braced for flooding, tree fells and prolonged power outages.

With the center of the storm projected to pass over or near the eastern tip of Long Island by noon, hurricane warnings extended from the Connecticut shoreline and near the former whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, to the luxurious properties opposite to the sea of ​​the Hamptons of New York. , to the Fire Island summer getaway.

The first thunderstorms that brought what could be up to half a foot (15 centimeters) of rain arrived Saturday night and flooding began in some areas overnight. Several videos posted online showed drivers riding high tide in New York City, Newark and Hoboken, New Jersey.

People on the projected road spent Saturday scrambling to stock up on groceries and gasoline. Those close to the shore boarded up the windows and, in some cases, were evacuated.

Residents and visitors to Fire Island, a narrow strip of sandy towns just above sea level off the southern shore of Long Island, were urged to evacuate. The last boats left at 10:40 pm on Saturday.

The evacuation threw a wrench at Kristen Pavese’s planned Fire Island bachelorette party. The group of 10 had intended to celebrate Saturday night, but ended up leaving on the ferry just one day after arriving. They had planned to stay until Monday.

“I’m upset about it, but it’s the weather. It’s nothing I can control, ”said Pavese, a Long Island resident. “I’ve been going to Fire Island for a long time, so I’m familiar with this.”

‘We have little notice’

The proximity of severe weather Saturday night also disrupted a superstar-laden concert in Central Park. The show spearheaded by Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Jennifer Hudson was meant to celebrate New York City’s recovery from the coronavirus. But officials asked concert goers to leave the park during Barry Manilow’s set amid the threat of lightning.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who will step down Monday after resigning over a sexual harassment scandal, emerged Saturday to plead with New York residents to make last-minute preparations, warning that heavy rain, wind and storm surge Henri’s could be as devastating as the Superstorm. Sandy in 2012.

“We have little notice. We are talking about tomorrow, ”Cuomo said in one of his latest forays into television cameras, a scenario that brought him to fame during the worst of last year’s pandemic. “So if you have to move, if you have to stock up, if you have to get to higher ground, it has to be today. Please.”

Governor Ned Lamont warned Connecticut residents that they should prepare to “shelter in place” from Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning as the state prepares for the first possible direct hit of a hurricane in decades. Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee issued a similar warning.

The region’s main airports remained open as the storm approached, although hundreds of flights were canceled Sunday. Service at some branches of the New York City commuter rail system was suspended until Sunday, as was Amtrak service between New York and Boston.

The White House said President Joe Biden discussed the preparations with the Northeast governors and that New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who succeeds Cuomo on Tuesday, also participated.

Later, Biden began approving emergency declarations with Rhode Island.

New York has not been directly hit by a powerful cyclone since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012. Some of the major repairs from that storm have been completed, but many projects designed to protect against future storms remain unfinished.

With a maximum wind of 120 kph (75 mph), just above hurricane strength, Henri accelerated to move north at 38 kph (21 mph) beginning Saturday night. It was still about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south-southeast of Montauk Point at the tip of Long Island.

Service stations from Cape Cod to Long Island began to sell out. Southampton City Supervisor Jay Schneiderman described a run on supplies like batteries and flashlights as people “start to wake up” as weather models showed the center of the storm would work “directly over the city of Southampton” .

Regardless of its exact landfall, wide impacts were expected across a large swath of the Northeast, extending inland to Hartford, Connecticut and Albany, New York, and east to Cape Cod, which is packed with tens of thousands of tourists. Of summer.

A storm surge of 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) is possible from Flushing, New York, to Chatham, Massachusetts, and for parts of the North Shore and South Shore of Long Island, the hurricane center said. Flash floods were possible in inland areas already saturated by recent rains.

In the Hamptons, the celebrity playground on Long Island’s eastern tip, officials warned of dangerous rip currents and flooding likely to turn streets like mansion-lined Dune Road into ponds.

“We have a lot of rich people. We certainly do, but everyone joins in an emergency, ”said Schneiderman. “So, you know, yeah, there are people hanging out on their yachts drinking martinis right now, but they’re also starting to talk about this storm and I’m sure they’ll want to help.”

(AP)

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