NEW YORK — Long Islanders should prepare for flooding rain, damaging winds and potential evacuations this weekend as Tropical Storm Henri threatens to strengthen to hurricane status before making landfall somewhere on the East Coast, the National Weather Service warned Friday.
A hurricane warning was issued for Suffolk County Friday afternoon. It warned of a potentially life-threatening storm surge, winds of 74 to 110 mph and the potential for extensive damage this weekend.
A tropical storm warning was issued for Nassau County, as well as coastal sections of Westchester and Fairfield counties. Those areas could see winds of 39 to 74 mph. The warning was extended late Friday to include New York City.
Further west, tropical storm watches have been issued — including for New York City.
The exact track and speed of Henri will determine the effects this storm will have on our area. While several models showed Henri making a direct hit on New England earlier, modeling has started to build a consensus with a westward shift and making landfall on Long Island.
Late Saturday night and into Sunday is when we’ll see the heaviest rain and strongest winds, 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.
Sunday we’ll likely see heavy rain, 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.
Tri-state area preps for storm
With the strong winds could come downed tress and power lines, as well as power outages.
Con Edison said it’s mobilizing crews in preparation for service issues related to Henri. The utility company said it’s already secured 1,200 mutual aid workers to restore service to any customers that 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 are also preparing for emergency responses to Henri downstate.
“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. “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 possibly in the forecasted cone for Henri, the MTA’s LIRR president addressed plans the agency is taking.
“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.