New England braces for first hurricane in 30 years with Henri

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PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) – Residents of New England preparing for their first hurricane in 30 years began pulling boats out of the water and taking other precautions on Friday as Tropical Storm Henri headed for the northeast coast.

Henri is expected to turn into a hurricane by Saturday, the United States National Hurricane Center said. The impacts could be felt in New England states by Sunday, including Cape Cod, which is teeming with tens of thousands of summer tourists.

Henri’s track was imprecise, but at 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, the National Weather Service suggested he could make landfall first on eastern Long Island before heading further north. The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the storm’s path.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday urged those vacationing in Cape Town to leave well before Henry’s arrival, and those planning to start their vacation there to delay their plans. “We don’t want people stuck in traffic on Cape Cod bridges when the storm is at its peak Sunday,” he said.

Baker said up to 1,000 National Guard soldiers were on standby to help with evacuations if needed.

“This storm is extremely disturbing,” said Michael Finkelstein, chief of police and director of emergency management in East Lyme, Connecticut. “We haven’t been down this route for quite a while and there is no doubt that we and the rest of New England would have real difficulty with a direct hit from a hurricane.”

Finkelstein said he was more concerned about low-lying areas of the city that could become impossible to access due to flooding and a storm surge.

Thursday marked exactly 30 years since Hurricane Bob struck Rhode Island as a Category 2 storm, killing at least 17 people and causing more than $ 1.5 billion in damage. Bob, who left the streets of coastal towns littered with boats torn from their moorings, cut off power and water to hundreds of thousands of people for days.

Vast swathes of the east coast were absorbing the effects of Henry’s predecessor, Tropical Depression Fred, on Friday. In North Carolina, Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher said four people had died and five were missing, up from about 20 people missing as of Thursday.

The Weather Service has warned of the potential for damaging winds and widespread coastal flooding from Henry, and officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York have warned people could lose electricity during a week or even more. Authorities urged people to secure their boats, refuel their vehicles and stock up on canned food.

The system was centered in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday night about 230 miles (370 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 615 miles (990 kilometers) south of Montauk Point, New York. It had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 km / h).

A hurricane warning has spread over the south shore of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk, and on the north shore from Port Jefferson Harbor to Montauk.

The main threats are expected to be storm surges, wind and rain, forecasters said. A storm surge of between 3 and 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) was possible from Flushing, New York, to Chatham, Massachusetts; and parts of the north shore and south shore of Long Island.

Rainfall of between 3 and 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) was expected from Sunday to Monday over the region.

Henri was heading north on Friday night and forecasters expected him to approach the coasts of Long Island in New York or southern New England by Sunday. New York has not been directly affected by a major storm during hurricane season since Super Storm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012.

At Safe Harbor Marina on the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Steve Berlo was among many boaters whose boats were pulled out of the water before the storm.

“It’s rare, but when it does happen you want to be sure you’re ready,” said Berlo, 54. “We need to protect our second home. So that’s it. Now I can sleep tonight.

In the Hamptons, the celebrity playground on the eastern end of Long Island, officials have warned of dangerous rip currents and flooding that could transform streets, like mansion-lined Dune Road on the Atlantic coast , in lagoons.

Ryan Murphy, the Emergency Management Administrator for the City of Southampton, said that while the storm’s trajectory continues to evolve, “we have to plan as if this is going to be like a Category 1 hurricane hitting us. “.

The National Weather Service has also warned residents and beachgoers of the North Carolina coast of the rip currents and heavy waves associated with Henry. Meteorologist Steven Pfaff of the Wilmington Weather Service’s office said swells from Henry are expected to create dangerous surf conditions from Friday and continuing on Saturday.

At the US Navy Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut, on Friday, staff were securing submarine moorings, installing flood valves in front of the doors of some waterfront buildings, and was doubling the lines on small boats, officials said. Families were encouraged to watch the forecast and make any necessary preparations.

The Coast Guard urged boaters to stay out of the water, saying in a statement: “Coast Guard search and rescue capabilities are deteriorating as storm conditions strengthen. This means that aid could be delayed.

At the Port Niantic Marina in Niantic, Connecticut, Debbie Shelburn and her employees were already busy on Friday pulling boats out of the water and into a large storage building.

“Basically it became everyone on the bridge. Whatever your position – mechanic, whatever – everyone is there to help with the logistics of moving the boats and keeping them safe ashore, ”she said.


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