By Jason Hanna and Aya Elamroussi, CNN
(CNN) – Parts of the northeast have begun to feel Hurricane Henry first impacts Saturday evening as the storm headed for the coast ahead of a scheduled landfall on Sunday, threatening to bring damaging winds, dangerous storm surge and flooding to an already saturated area.
The first downpours from the storm drifted over southern New Jersey and the upstate part of the state on Saturday evening and began soaking parts of southwestern New York, heading toward New York, the meteorologist said. CNN, Gene Norman.
“This band of rain could produce precipitation rates of 1 to 3″ per hour tonight overnight, with significant flash flooding possible,” the National Weather Service for the Eastern Region said. mentioned on Twitter.
In addition to rain, coastal flooding is expected across parts of the New Jersey and Delaware coasts with Saturday evening’s high tide, the Mount Holly Weather Service mentioned on Twitter.
Henrywhich strengthened from a tropical storm late Saturday morning over the Atlantic, could make landfall at or near hurricane force on Long Island in New York or southern New -England on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center mentioned.
Strong winds and rain are likely to batter a wide area from New York to New England – and with the region saturated from recent rains, Henri could easily knock down trees and cause days of power outages.
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon before the storm. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned residents of flood-prone areas: Get to safety now.
“If you know you’re in an area that tends to get flooded…get out of that area now, please,” Cuomo said during a televised briefing on Saturday. “If you have to go to higher ground, it has to be today.”
Lightning also forced the postponement of the “WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” which was televised by CNN.
Mandatory evacuations ordered
More than 35 million people are under flood watch in the Northeast, with the hurricane center warning that heavy rains could cause “substantial flash flooding, urban and small streams” and create the potential “d ‘widespread minor and isolated moderate flooding’.
The Weather Prediction Center has a moderate risk — a level 3 out of 4 — of excessive precipitation for parts of western Connecticut and Massachusetts, southern New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey. .
Significant damage is possible in this already soggy region even if Henri is not a hurricane on land, said Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We’re going to see power outages, we’re going to see downed trees, and even after the storm passes, the threat of falling trees and branches is still there,” Criswell told CNN Saturday morning.
In Connecticut, mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the coastal towns of Guilford and Branford, according to a tweet from state Rep. Sean Scanlon.
“If you live in a coastal, low-lying, or historic flood-prone area in Guilford, evacuate now. If you live in Zone 1 or 2 in Branford (see map), evacuate by 9 p.m.,” Scanlon said. wrote. “PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.”
Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick also told CNN that the city has decided to order mandatory evacuations in certain neighborhoods and that authorities will be going door to door in those areas of the city advising residents to leave. before the hurricane.
Earlier Saturday, the city recommended a voluntary evacuation of some residents by 10 p.m., including those living on Shore Ave., Beach Pond Road, Pine Island Road and Jupiter Point.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont told residents Saturday afternoon to prepare to shelter in place on Sunday and urged them to stock up on food and get extra gas. Energy company Eversource mentioned As of Saturday, between 50% and 69% of Connecticut customers could lose power and restoration efforts could take up to three weeks.
Millions under weather warnings
The center of Henri had sustained winds of 75mph late Saturday afternoon.
Rain showers are likely to become more widespread from Saturday evening through Sunday when Henri is expected to make landfall.
The storm will likely slow its forward speed after making landfall, meaning the risk of showers and isolated thunderstorms will persist through Tuesday morning in the northeast.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for nearly 6 million people in areas including parts of Long Island and New Haven, Connecticut, west of Westport, Massachusetts.
More than 36 million more people are subject to tropical storm warnings, including parts of New Jersey and New York – including New York – and large parts of southern New England.
A hurricane making landfall in this region would be quite rare. Long Island has not been directly hit by a hurricane since Gloria in 1985; New England last saw a hurricane make landfall with Hurricane Bob in 1991.
Super Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey in 2012 with hurricane-force winds and devastated areas of the northeast, although it was technically a post-tropical cyclone when it made landfall. Henri’s wind field on landing is expected to be a quarter the size, CNN meteorologists said.
Long Island restaurateur: ‘We have big concerns’
Along with Henri, storm surges are also a major concern: Surges between 3 and 5 feet are possible Sunday in areas from Long Island to Chatham, Massachusetts, the hurricane center said.
People living in an area under storm surge warnings “should take all necessary measures to protect life and property from rising waters and the potential for other hazardous conditions,” the hurricane center said. mentioned Saturday morning.
In Long Island’s East End, Christine Oakland-Hill said road flooding was just one of her concerns for her 30-year-old shore business, Oakland’s Restaurant and Marina.
“God forbid it to be frontal”, Oakland-Hill told CNN affiliate WCBS on Friday. “We have great concerns. This (company) is our legacy.”
Doreen Puco was running errands in Long Island’s Oyster Bay to prepare for the storm.
“I’m afraid of losing my power”, Puco said WCBS on Friday. “I just hope they are better prepared than they have been in the past.”
Parts of New England and southeast New York could see widespread rainfall of 3 to 6 inches through Monday, with isolated totals of nearly 10 inches possible – and could lead to flash flooding, urban, river and river.
As Henri moves parallel to the East Coast on Saturday, rip currents will also be a concern from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
On Friday, more than 50 rip current rescues were reported in coastal Wilmington, North Carolina alone, the city’s National Weather Service said. mentioned.
A city will order mandatory evacuations
Officials in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island said National Guard members were activated or otherwise ready before the storm to help with any rescue, cleanup and other support.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker warned residents to prepare for possible extended power outages, minor flooding and tropical storm-force winds and urged people to avoid unnecessary travel and delay weekend getaways. weekend in Cape Cod.
At a Saturday afternoon press conference, Baker said that while the state will “avoid the direct hit,” it will likely still experience impacts including outages, winds, storm surges and heavy rainfall. . He warned there was a risk of flooding and washed out roads in Berkshire and Worcester counties, especially given previous rainfall.
“It looks like we’re going to avoid the worst,” the governor said. “But everyone should always pay attention to local weather alerts.”
Governor Cuomo said Saturday he would declare an emergency for areas including Long Island, New York, Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
New York has deployed heavy equipment to Long Island and water rescue teams ready to go, Cuomo said.
A voluntary evacuation order is in place at Fire Island — a barrier island off the south shore of Long Island — so residents and visitors can “leave for their own safety,” the county executive said. Suffolk, Steve Bellone, Saturday afternoon. Tweeter.
“I urge residents to check ferry service times and plan to depart barrier island today,” Bellone wrote.
New York City Emergency Management has issued a travel advisory for the city until further notice. All city beaches will close Sunday and Monday, according to city officials. Swimming and paddling will not be permitted on these days.
Amtrak announced on Saturday that it has canceled service between New York and Boston on Sunday, according to the passenger rail service. Rail service between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts, is also suspended.
Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee urged residents to prepare for the storm and announced he had signed an emergency declaration to release federal resources to support the storm response.
The governor urged residents to exercise caution along coastal areas due to predicted rip currents and high waves.
“Rhode Island has often experienced needless tragedy during storms when wave watchers and fishermen who have climbed rocks near the shore are struck by the waves and quickly swept into deep waters and drown,” he said. -he declares.
Beaches and state parks will be closed Sunday and likely Monday, depending on storm damage and cleaning required.
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