Tropical Storm Henri Live Updates: Path, Tracker and More. Thick bands of heavy rain, flash flooding and powerfully snapping winds battered the East Coast on Sunday morning, signaling the imminent arrival of Henri.
The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm ahead of its expected landfall. With maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour, the storm’s center will likely hit land in late morning or early afternoon Sunday over eastern Long Island or southern New England, the National Weather Service said.
At 8 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday, the storm’s center was about 50 miles south of Newport, R.I. It is expected to weaken quickly once it lands.
But the storm’s impact was already felt Saturday night, with the weather service reporting over a dozen flooded roadways in New York and New Jersey and New York City breaking an Aug. 21 rainfall record with 4.45 inches.
With National Guard troops standing ready to clear debris and make high-water rescues in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, forecasters warned that Henri could produce dangerous storm surges of up to five feet, swamping coastal communities with wind-driven seawater.
With eight inches of rain possible in Connecticut, the coastal towns of New Haven, Branford, Guilford and Groton recommended that residents on streets closest to the water voluntarily evacuate. New York officials warned of possible dangerous storm surges in parts of the Bronx and northern Queens.
In preparation for the storm, New York suspended outdoor dining and closed beaches for swimming for Sunday. The Metro-North Railroad suspended all service on its New Haven line and partly suspended some other service. Long Island Rail Road canceled some Sunday morning trains also.
Just before 9 a.m. Sunday in Montauk on the eastern tip of Long Island, stores downtown were closed save for Anthony’s Pancake House and a 7-Eleven with its windows boarded up and “open” spray-painted in neon orange.
At the town’s Ditch Plains Beach, Joe Scollan, 59, a plumbing contractor, was taking pictures outside the vacation home he has owned for more than 30 years. High tide was expected within the hour. “The next couple of hours will tell the tale, but we lucked out,” he said. “We dodged a bullet.”
The last hurricane to make landfall on Long Island was Gloria in 1985, and the last to make landfall in New England was Bob in 1991. Gloria closed schools and businesses, flooded low-lying areas and caused millions of dollars in damage. Bob killed at least a dozen people, brought down power lines and wrecked houses as neighborhoods flooded.
Mindful of the damage from those storms and the difficulty of precisely predicting Henri’s path, officials in New York and New England canceled events and activities planned for Sunday and urged tourists to leave beach towns. Hardware stores were filled with customers snapping up batteries and flashlights in anticipation of power outages.
There were voluntary evacuations on Saturday on Fire Island, a narrow barrier island off the southern shore of Long Island. By 6 p.m., Edwin Pabon, 51, who works at a barber shop on Fire Island, was on a packed ferry on his way home to Manhattan.
Mr. Pabon was taking precautions by closing his shop and heading to Manhattan, but he felt that the response was overblown.
“I am not scared of a hurricane,” he said. “I am from Puerto Rico, I grew up with hurricanes.” He added, “I feel like people need to relax a little.”
The Northeast braced Sunday morning for the arrival of Tropical Storm Henri, packing winds of 70 miles an hour as it headed toward shore, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 8 a.m. Eastern time, Henri, which was downgraded from a hurricane Sunday morning, was about 50 miles south of Newport, R.I., and 50 miles southeast of Montauk at the tip of Long Island. It was headed north-northwest at 16 miles an hour and expected to make landfall in southern New England or eastern Long Island in late morning or early afternoon, the hurricane center reported.
A storm surge warning was in effect on the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound from Queens in New York City out to the tip of Long Island, and all along the New England coast from Connecticut to the base of Cape Cod. If the peak surge occurs around the time of high tide, flooding of three to five feet is possible in those areas.
Sustained winds of over 40 miles an hour have already been reported on coastal Rhode Island. After Henri hits land, it is expected to head toward the north and weaken rapidly.
Flash flooding was reported Saturday night and Sunday morning in more than a dozen spots across New York and New Jersey. As of Sunday morning, the heaviest rains from the storm had fallen on New York City, northern New Jersey and parts of Connecticut. Central Park broke a record for Aug. 21 with 4.45 inches of rain. Over five inches were recorded in Clifton, N.J., and in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and over four inches fell on Danbury, Conn. In the New York City region, rain is expected to continue until Monday morning.
Against gathering winds, the 400-ton steel doors connecting the city’s hurricane barrier groaned into place Sunday morning, sealing off the region’s largest fishing port as southern New England braced for the impending storm. The New Bedford Hurricane Barrier hadn’t closed because of a storm since Sandy in 2012.
Those able to make it inside were packed tight, wooden sailboats and lavish yachts jammed beside the rusted fishing vessels more typical of this industrial harbor, bobbing in the nervous swells. Those still at sea were expected to find another port.
“Once it’s closed, it’s closed,” said Justin Poulsen, director of the New Bedford Port Authority. “You can’t underestimate this kind of storm.”
The last vessel to enter the harbor, 22 minutes before the barrier closed, was the Eagle Eye II, a New Bedford swordfish vessel, according to M.L. Baron, who runs a weather website out of neighboring Fairhaven. Tropical Storm Henri was expected to hit New Bedford late Sunday morning or early afternoon.
The New Bedford Port Authority announced that it was at capacity by midday Saturday. Vessels hailing from New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts were stacked six deep along the docks. Many had cut their trips short.