Feverish preparations were underway Saturday in some parts of the Northeast as Tropical Storm Henri was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning. If it continues on its current path, the hurricane is expected to make landfall on Long Island or southern New England Sunday. The National Hurricane Center extended its hurricane warning from the southern coast of New England as several other areas in the region could be hit by a dangerous storm surge. The center warned of a “dangerous storm surge, hurricane conditions, and flooding rainfall” as early as Saturday night.
At first, forecasters were predicting Henri would be the first hurricane to hit New England directly in three decades. The last time a hurricane made landfall in New England was Bob in 1991, which led to 17 deaths and $1.5 billion in damages. But now Henri has moved a bit further west and seems to be headed straight into eastern Long Island. New York hasn’t had a direct hit from a major storm since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the last hurricane to make landfall on Long Island was Gloria in 1985, which killed eight people and caused nearly $1 billion in damage. Specifically, Henri is expected to hit along the eastern part of Long Island, between West Hampton and Amagansett, which includes the Hamptons.
Regardless of where it hits exactly, Henri is expected to cause flooding and other damage in a large portion of the Northeast. The hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and it is expected to strengthen through Saturday evening. “Although some weakening is expected prior to landfall on Sunday, Henri is forecast to be at or near hurricane strength when it reaches the coasts of Long Island and southern New England,” the National Hurricane Center said. “This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions,” the center added.
Henri is expected to drench areas with as much as 10 inches of rain and could produce storm surges as high as five feet along the New England coast. There is particular concern that Henri comes shortly after areas of the Northeast were already drenched by Tropical Rainstorm Fred. “Since Fred unloaded several inches of rain, Henri’s second dose of heavy, tropical rainfall may trigger flash flooding in the region more easily,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.