Henri’s planned landing on Long Island or southern New England late Sunday morning or early afternoon is expected to pose risks for much of the surrounding area.
And even if it doesn’t hit these areas like a hurricane, it will be dangerous enough to cause destructive winds and storm surges that threaten to bring down trees and power lines as well as major flooding.
A hurricane warning was in effect for much of the Long Island coast as well as parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts and Block Island.
A combination of storm surge warnings and watches were in place for much of Long Island and the Massachusetts coastline, the NHC said. A storm surge warning means there is a danger of fatal flooding due to rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause flooding of normally dry areas near the coast by rising waters moving inland from the shore,” NHC forecasters said.
There is also a chance that tornadoes will form over southern New England on Sunday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.
The arrival of a hurricane in the region would be rare. Long Island has not had a direct hurricane hit since Gloria in 1985; New England last saw a hurricane make landfall with Hurricane Bob in 1991.
Henry’s wind field – which is the three-dimensional radius around the storm – on landing is expected to be a quarter the size of Sandy’s, CNN meteorologists said.
“Henri is a much more compact storm than Sandy was when it made landfall,” CNN weather producer Robert Shackelford said.
Tropical weather warnings in the northeast
More than 50 million people in the northeast are currently on tropical weather alert, according to CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin. This includes over 12 million people on storm surge warning, over 5 million people on hurricane warning, and over 37 million people on tropical storm warning.
The warnings mean that these conditions are expected within 24 hours.
“If you live in an area that is coastal, low, or prone to historic flooding from Guilford, evacuate now. If you live in Zone 1 or 2 in Branford… evacuate before 9 pm,” Scanlon wrote. “PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUS.”
Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick also told CNN the city has decided to order mandatory evacuations in certain neighborhoods, and authorities will be door-to-door in those parts of the city to advise residents to leave. Before the storm.
The New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island National Guard were also activated or otherwise ready before the storm to assist with any rescue, clean-up and other support, officials said.
Central Park records record rain
In Manhattan, Central Park set a daily precipitation record of 4.45 inches on Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Heavy rains broke the previous record of 4.19 inches from 1888.
Meanwhile, other areas of New York City saw 4 to 8 inches of rain, with Brooklyn receiving more than 6 inches over a 24-hour period.
Across the Hudson River, neighboring New Jersey recorded total rainfall of 1 to 3 inches in 24 hours.
Flash flood watch remains in effect until Monday morning, with an additional 3 to 6 inches of rain expected for parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont, with higher amounts possible.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned residents of flood-prone areas.
“If you know you’re in an area that tends to get flooded… get out of that area now, please,” Cuomo said at a televised media briefing on Saturday.
Cuomo said he would declare an emergency for areas such as Long Island, New York, Westchester and Hudson Valley. New York has heavy equipment deployed to Long Island and water rescue teams ready to go, Cuomo said.
Utilities prepare for possible power outages
Heavy rains and strong winds from Henri can cause major power outages, prompting energy companies to stay ahead of this threat.
Eversource – which provides electrical services in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut – has established 1,500 crews to help with power restoration efforts and another 500 to clean up trees.
The Edison Electric Institute, which represents companies that provide electricity to more than 220 million Americans, said 12,000 crews from at least 29 states, Washington, DC and Canada were able to move in after the storm.
“These teams will work around the clock to restore power as quickly as possible when and where they can, provided it can be done safely,” the institute said in a press release.
CNN’s Tyler Mauldin, Robert Shackelford, Joe Sutton, Chris Boyette, Artemis Moshtaghian, Kay Jones, Jason Hanna contributed to this report.