In the wake of Hurricane Henri’s upgrade, storm preparations have become more urgent in the Northeast. Landfall is expected on Sunday. It is predicted that a dangerous storm surge could occur as early as late Saturday in portions of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southeastern Massachusetts. As Henri moves inland, high tides and storm surges may cause floods in coastal New England. Heavy rain and wind may also cause flooding. If Henri stays on this route, it will hit eastern Long Island rather than New England, which has not been directly hit by a hurricane since Hurricane Bob in 1991, a Category 2 storm that killed at least 17 people.
Since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City in 2012, there has not been a direct hit from a powerful cyclone. Most of the most important storm-related repairs have been completed, but many projects to prevent future storms remain unfinished. It is expected to have broad impacts across a large area of the Northeast, from Hartford, Connecticut, and Albany, New York and eastward to Cape Cod, which is teeming with summer tourists.
As a result of Henri’s shifting course, a hurricane watch was lifted for the Cape on Saturday, though a tropical storm and storm surge warning remained in place. Late Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center extended a hurricane warning for the southern coast of New England, including Rhode Island, to west of Westport, Massachusetts, encompassing Block Island. A tropical storm warning was extended eastward for the coast of Massachusetts, including Nantucket.
Governor Charlie Baker advised people vacationing on the Cape to leave well before Hurricane Henri hits, and those planning to go on vacation to delay their departure. ‘We don’t want people to be stuck in traffic on the Cape Cod bridges when the storm hits full force on Sunday,’ he said. Despite a top wind speed of 75 mph (120 kph) Saturday morning, Henri sped up to move north-northeast at 14 mph (23 kph). New York’s Long Island is still about 465 miles (750 kilometers) south of Montauk.
As Connecticut braces for a possible direct hurricane hit for the first time in decades, Governor Ned Lamont instructed residents to shelter in place from Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning. East Lyme, Connecticut, police chief and emergency management director Michael Finkelstein described the storm as extremely worrisome. ‘We haven’t been down this road for quite some time, and there’s no doubt that we and the rest of New England would have some difficulties if a hurricane made a direct hit’, he said.
The storm surge could climb to between three and five feet (one and 1.5 meters) with Henri in Flushing, New York, to Chatham, Massachusetts; as well as the North and South Shores of Long Island. From Sunday through Monday, 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of rain is expected in the Northeast. Hurricane Henri may bring damaging winds and coastal flooding, and officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York have warned that power could be out for weeks or months. Boats should be secured, vehicles filled up and canned goods stocked.
The state park officials on Long Island are building a wall of sand along the boardwalk at Jones Beach to protect it from the tides, said George Gorman, the regional director for state parks on Long Island. In 2013, Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage to beaches that took months to repair, so equipment was purchased to build this wall. It was predicted that campgrounds would close on Saturday afternoon and remain closed until Tuesday. Steve Berlo, who owns the Safe Harbor Marina in coastal Plymouth, Massachusetts, was among the many boaters who had their vessels drained before the storm hit.
Berlo, 54, explained that such dangers are rare, but when they do occur, you have to be prepared. ‘We must protect our second home. In the Hamptons, the celebrity playground on Long Island’s east end, officials are warning of dangerous rip currents and flooding that could turn streets like the mansion-lined Dune Road into lagoons’. Southampton’s emergency management administrator, Ryan Murphy, said that while the storm’s track continues to evolve, ‘we have to prepare as if it would be a Category 1 hurricane’.