Strong winds and rain will likely hit a large area from New York to New England – and since the area is saturated with recent rains, Henry could easily chop down trees and set up blackout days.
And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned residents of flood-prone areas: get safe now.
“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. “If you have to go to higher ground, it has to be today. “
More than 35 million people are under flood watch in the northeast, with the hurricane center warning that heavy rains could cause “flash floods, urban and small streams” and create potential “for flooding moderate, minor and isolated rivers ”.
The Weather Prediction Center has a moderate risk – a Level 3 in 4 – of excessive precipitation for parts of western Connecticut and Massachusetts, southern New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey .
Significant damage is possible in this already soggy region, even though Henri is not a hurricane on landing, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell said.
“We’re going to see power outages, we’re going to see downed trees, and even after the storm has passed, the threat of falling trees and branches is still there,” Criswell told CNN on Saturday morning.
President Joe Biden held a “hurricane preparedness call” on Saturday afternoon with governors of northeastern states to discuss preparations for the storm, according to a reading of the White House call.
Millions under weather warnings
Rain showers before Henri were already reaching parts of the mid-Atlantic on Saturday evening and rain activity is likely to become more prevalent from Saturday evening and through Sunday when Henri is expected to make landfall.
The storm will likely slow down its forward speed after landing, meaning the risk of isolated showers and thunderstorms will persist until Tuesday morning in the northeast.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for nearly 6 million people in areas including parts of Long Island and New Haven, Connecticut, west of Westport, Massachusetts.
More than 36 million more people are under tropical storm warning, including parts of New Jersey and New York – including New York City – and large parts of southern New England.
The arrival of a hurricane in this region would be rather 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.
Long Island restaurateur: “We have great concerns”
Along with Henri, storm surges are also a major concern: waves between 3 and 5 feet are possible on Sunday in areas including parts of Long Island in Chatham, Massachusetts, the hurricane center said.
In the East End of Long Island, Christine Oakland-Hill said road flooding was just one of her concerns for her land-based business, Oakland’s Restaurant and Marina, which has been in existence for 30 years.
Doreen Puco was shopping at Oyster Bay on Long Island to prepare for the storm.
Parts of New England and southeastern New York could see widespread rainfall of 3-6 inches through Monday, with isolated totals of nearly 10 inches possible – and could lead to sudden, urban, flooding, flooding. streams and rivers.
As Henri moves parallel to the east coast on Saturday, return currents will also be a concern from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
City to order mandatory evacuations
Officials from New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island said members of the National Guard were activated or otherwise ready before the storm to help with any rescue, cleanup and other support.
Mayor Keith Hedrick of Groton, Connecticut, told CNN the city has decided to order mandatory evacuations in certain neighborhoods, and authorities will be going door-to-door in those parts of the city to advise residents to leave. before the hurricane.
Earlier on Saturday, the city recommended a voluntary evacuation for some residents before 10 p.m., including those who live on Shore Ave., Beach Pond Road, Pine Island Road and Jupiter Point.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has warned residents to prepare for possible prolonged power outages, minor flooding and tropical storm force winds and urged people to avoid unnecessary travel and delay escapades from the weekend in Cape Cod.
At a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Baker said that while the state will “avoid direct hit,” it will likely still feel impacts, including blackouts, winds, storm surges and heavy rainfall. . He warned there was a risk of flooding and flooding of roads in Berkshire and Worcester counties, especially given previous rainfall.
“Looks like we’re going to avoid the worst,” the governor said. “But everyone should always pay attention to local weather warnings.”
Governor Cuomo said on Saturday 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.
“I urge residents to check the ferry service schedules and plan to leave Barrier Island today,” Bellone wrote.
New York City Emergency Management has issued a travel advisory for the city until further notice. All of the city’s beaches will close Sunday and Monday, according to city officials. Swimming and paddling will not be permitted during these days.
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee urged residents to prepare for the storm and announced he had signed an emergency declaration to release federal resources to support the storm response.
The governor urged residents to exercise caution along riparian areas due to anticipated back currents and high waves.
“Rhode Island has often seen unnecessary tragedy during storms when wave watchers and anglers who have climbed over rocks near the shore are hit by the waves and are quickly swept into deep water and drowned.” , did he declare.
Beaches and state parks will be open Saturday, according to the governor, but closed Sunday and possibly Monday, depending on storm damage and required cleanup.
CNN’s Brandon Miller, Brian Todd, Haley Brink, Arlette Saenz, Liam Reilly, Hollie Silverman, Melissa Alonso, Jackson Dill, Elizabeth Joseph, Judson Jones and Raja Razek contributed to this report.
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