NEW YORK — Henri strengthened to a hurricane on Saturday as it barrelled toward Long Island and southern New England with wind speeds up to 75 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
As of the latest update, the storm was moving faster north-northeast at 17 mph with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph south of Montauk on Long Island.
The National Weather Service issued a slew of watches and warnings for the New York metropolitan region.
Even prior to landfall, outer bands prompted a flash flood warning for Brooklyn until 11:45 p.m. Saturday night. Several New Jersey counties were under flash flood warnings until 12:15 a.m. Sunday. A new flash flood warning for Bronx, New York, Nassau and Queens counties was issued until 12:45 a.m.
A hurricane warning was issued for Suffolk County, with life-threatening storm surge, flooding from heavy rainfall and damaging winds of 74 to 110 mph possible.
A tropical storm warning was issued for Nassau County and New York City, as well as coastal sections of Westchester and Fairfield counties. Those areas could see winds of 39 to 74 mph.
Several other advisories have been issued for our area, including storm surge watches and warnings, flood watches and advisories and a flash flood watch.
The exact track and speed of Henri will determine what effects this storm will have on the area.
While several earlier models showed Henri making a direct hit on New England, modeling began to build a consensus with a westward shift toward landfall on Long Island. However, a few models also show the storm could end up over New York City and northern New Jersey.
New York hasn’t had a direct hit from a major hurricane season storm since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012.
Regardless of its exact landfall, broad impacts were expected across a large swath of the Northeast,
Tropical force winds might be felt, even in New York City, as soon as Saturday night.
Models have consistently shown landfall will take place Sunday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Expect the heaviest rain and strongest winds late Saturday night into Sunday, with Eastern Long Island likely to experience the brunt of the storm.
Heavy rain will continue into Sunday, with life-threatening storm surges of 3 to 5 feet 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.
Once the storm arrives, there is a chance it will slow down, keeping the unsettled conditions around on Monday.
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.
Tri-state area preps for Henri
Strong winds could cause downed trees and power outages.
PSEG Long Island warned the intensity of the storm could result in power outages that last up to 10 days. The utility was performing systems checks, preparing extra supplies and gathering an additional 1,200 line workers, tree trimmers, surveyors and other utility personnel from both local and off-Island resources.
“We continue to monitor the track of [Henri],” said Michael Sullivan, senior director of Transmission & Distribution at PSEG Long Island. “As the storm makes its way up the coast, employees are preparing for the possibility of high winds that can cause flying debris, and bring down trees and power lines. We encourage our customers to do the same at their homes and businesses.”
Con Edison said it’s mobilizing crews in preparation for service issues related to Henri. The utility company said it secured 1,500 mutual aid workers to help restore service to customers who lose power or have other storm-related issues.
Con Ed gave the following information on safety, outages and restoration:
Con Edison urges members of the public to stay away from downed wires, as they may be live. If you see downed wires, report them to your local police department or Con Edison by calling 1-800-75-CONED. Do not touch downed wires with your hands or any object.
Customers can sign up for text alerts at coned.com/text. Customers can also report outages and check service restoration status at conEd.com/reportoutage or with Con Edison’s mobile app for iOS or Android devices, or by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).
The priority for restoration will be critical customer facilities that have an impact on the public, such as mass transit, hospitals, police and fire stations, and sewage and water-pumping stations. Crews will then prioritize repairs that will provide power to the largest numbers of customers as quickly as possible, then move on to restore smaller groups and individual customers.
Information on outages and restoration times is available on the Con Edison outage map.
New York state agencies were also preparing for emergency responses to Henri.
“We’ve seen this scenario before and we are taking every precaution to prepare for the impacts Henri may bring to New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday. “I have directed state agencies to remain at the ready with emergency response assets if they are needed, and I urge New Yorkers to be vigilant and stay alert this weekend as potentially dangerous weather moves in.”
Several state departments, including the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Public Service, State Police, MTA and Port Authority — among others — are taking necessary precautions, the governor’s office said.
With Long Island facing a possible direct hit from Henri, the MTA’s LIRR president urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel.
“When storms such as Tropical Storm Henri hit, we strongly advise to avoid unnecessary travel if possible,” said Phil Eng. “But rest assured, the LIRR workforce will be out in full force to protect service and keep you safe. If you have to travel, real-time information is available through our TrainTime app, which is the best place to look for the latest travel data before, during, and after any storm.”
Metro-North, New York City Transit and Bridges and Tunnels leaders addressed similar preparations for extreme weather.