People evacuated popular seaside communities and ran last-minute errands with batteries and gasoline as Hurricane Henri approached Long Island and southern New England, as officials pleaded with the millions of people on the way to the storm to prepare for torrential rains and storm surges. .
Hurricane Henri was about to collide late Sunday morning or afternoon with a long stretch of coastline, as hurricane warnings spread from near the old whaling port of New Bedford, MA, through the luxurious oceanfront estates of New York’s Hamptons, to the summer getaway on Fire Island.
Intense winds and potentially dangerous tidal waves were expected as far east as Cape Cod and as far west as the Jersey coast, and utilities have warned power outages could last a week or even more. Governors urged people to stay home during the brunt of the storm.
Henri was veering a bit further west than originally expected, putting eastern Long Island on target rather than New England. This gave people directly on the way to the storm less time to prepare.
A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for some residents closest to water in Madison, Connecticut. The first woman of selection, Peggy Lyons, wrote in a public notice that “Residents who do not leave the evacuation area before 9 p.m. tonight are putting their lives at risk and public safety teams will not be able to answer you once the winds exceed 50 mph “.
Residents and visitors to Fire Island, a narrow strip of sandy villages barely above sea level off the south coast of Long Island, have been urged to evacuate. The last boats to leave will leave on Saturday at 10:40 pm; after that, officials said, there may be no way out for those who decide to weather the storm.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded with residents of the state to make last-minute preparations, warning that Henry’s heavy rains, winds and storm surges could be as devastating as Super Storm Sandy in parts of the state. The governor, who will step down in two days following a sexual harassment scandal, has warned heavy rains are expected to create problems as far as the Hudson River Valley.
âWe have short notice. We’re talking about tomorrow, âCuomo said. âSo if you have to move, if you have to stock up, if you have to go to heights, it has to be today. Please.”
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has warned residents they should prepare to “shelter in place” from Sunday afternoon to at least Monday morning as the state braces for the first possible direct hit of a hurricane for decades. In Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee also urged residents of the state to stay at home on Sunday and Monday morning.
âWe consider this to be serious business,â McKee said at a press conference.
Officials said Boston’s Logan International Airport is expected to remain open, but some flights will likely be canceled. And service on some branches of New York’s commuter rail system will be suspended on Sunday. Amtrak Sunday service between New York and Boston has been canceled.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Saturday expressed relief that the latest models suggest Henry will not hit the state directly.
But Baker and McKee in separate briefings warned that high winds and heavy rains could still lead to widespread and prolonged power outages.
The White House said President Joe Biden discussed preparations with governors in the Northeast and New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who succeeds Cuomo on Tuesday, also attended.
Biden then began approving emergency declarations with Rhode Island.
Regardless of Henry’s exact landing, large impacts were expected over much of the northeast, extending inland as far as Hartford, Connecticut and Albany, New York, and east. to Cape Cod, which is teeming with tens of thousands of summer tourists.
A storm surge of between 3 and 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m) is possible from Flushing, New York, to Chatham, Mass., And for parts of the north shore and south shore of Long Island, said the hurricane center.
Rainfall of between 3 and 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) is expected from Sunday to Monday.