Tropical storm warnings, flood watches in NY, NJ as remnants of Elsa head north


NEW YORK — As Elsa lashed South Carolina early Thursday, the tri-state is bracing for potentially severe weather as a result of the storm as it moves north.

Tropical storm warnings were issued early Thursday morning for Long Island and much of the New Jersey shore.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were also issued for the Bronx, Westchester and Rockland counties in New York and Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey until 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, Flash flood watches go into effect Thursday night until noon Friday for New York City, Long Island and areas north of the city.

We can expect sunny skies Thursday morning, with clouds increasing in the afternoon.

The first showers in our area associated with Elsa could move in as early as Thursday afternoon, with a threat of scattered showers and thunderstorms into the evening. Temperatures will climb into the mid to upper 80s, but it will be very humid making it feel more like 90 degrees or higher.

The brunt of Elsa will move into the region during the overnight hours Thursday night and continue into Friday morning.

It is during this period that the torrential downpours could develop and lead to flash flooding on area roadways. Local rivers and streams could end up overflowing as well. Fortunately, coastal sections will not have to deal with a storm surge, but beach erosion and rough surf will be a possibility. 

In terms of wind, the worst of it will likely occur offshore. Nonetheless, tropical storm force winds in excess of 39 mph could occur in coastal sections where the tropical storm warnings are currently issued. Power outages will be a concern and any lightweight items could get blown away from the gusty winds. 

Tropical systems are capable of spinning out a tornado and Elsa will not be an exception. The risk for a tornado cannot be ruled out as the storm passes early on Friday. 

The heaviest downpours may end up tapering off Friday morning, but the region is not out of woods yet. A cold front to the west could bring additional showers and thunderstorms late in the afternoon and into the evening hours. 

Rainfall amounts will vary depending on the track of Elsa and the approaching cold front. As much as one to two inches will be possible in general, but we could see spots get up to 3 inches. 

As the storm approaches the tri-state area, Nassau County officials discussed the Long Island area’s preparedness for the storm. 

Nassau County’s emergency management team is well equipped to respond to disasters and storms, according to Nassau Executive Laura Curran.

Anyone who loses power is urged to contact PSEG Long Island. The electric company has added about 1,000 out-of-state workers and provided additional resources.

To report outages or downed wires, call PSEG’s 24-hour hotline at 800-490-0075

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