NEW YORK — Henri became a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday, as it took aim at Long Island and southern New England.
Much of the tri-state area is encompassed by a hurricane warning, hurricane watch, tropical storm warning or tropical storm watch.
With a top wind speed of 75 mph, Henri sped up to move north-northeast at 17 mph, as of Saturday afternoon. It’s still about 395 miles south of Montauk Point on Long Island.
Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said Henri was expected to be at or near hurricane strength when it makes landfall Sunday. Models have consistently shown landfall will take place Sunday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the eye of the hurricane could be over Long Island by 11 a.m., and heavy rain and dangerous winds will last through Monday morning.
Modeling began to build a consensus toward landfall on Long Island or southern Connecticut. However, a few models also show the storm could end up over New York City and northern New Jersey.
On Friday, a tweet from lifeguards on Long Island showed flooding on beaches, even though the storm is still far from approaching.
New York hasn’t had a direct hit from a powerful cyclone since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012.
The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed on the storm’s track. Cuomo said Biden agreed to sign a declaration freeing up emergency funding in response to the storm.
Saturday night forecast
Late Saturday night and into Sunday will be when the heaviest rain and strongest winds will settle in, with eastern Long Island likely to experience the brunt of the storm.
Tropical force winds might be felt, even in New York City, as soon as Saturday night.
Expect the greatest impact from Henri on Sunday.
Heavy rain and life-threatening storm surges of 3 to 5 feet are possible in parts of Long Island. Dangerous rip currents and high surf will arrive Sunday afternoon and last into Monday as the storm slowly move away from the region.
The New York City area could still see strong damaging winds and heavy downpours. Rainfall totals could vary widely, anywhere from 1 to 4 inches.
Long Island could possibly see between 3 and 6 inches of rain or more. Expect flash flooding from the heavy downpours that will impact the region.
Impacts could be felt in New England states by Sunday, too, including on Cape Cod, which is teeming with tens of thousands of summer tourists.
Tidal flooding: Sunday high tides
There will likely be dangerous storm surge of up to 5 feet in some locations. Storm surge-related flooding will be based on the tide cycle. There’s also a full moon, which increases the gravitational pull, which will impact tides. High tides for Sunday are:
Battery: 8:55 a.m. and 9:10 p.m.
Jamaica Bay: 9:05 a.m. and 9:22 p.m.
Sandy Hook: 8:28 a.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Jones Beach: 9:49 a.m. and 10:06 p.m.
City Island: 12:30 p.m.
Bridgeport: 11:54 a.m.
Henri could stick around through Monday
Once the storm arrives, there is a chance it will slow down, keeping the unsettled conditions around on Monday. While storm watches and warnings were expected to expire overnight Sunday into Monday, the chance for rain and thunderstorms will stick around.
Cuomo said his team expects the storm to clear New York by around 2 p.m. Monday.