Tropical Storm Henri is set to hit New York state as a Category 1 hurricane sustained wind speeds of up to 85pmh and gusts of up to 100mph as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declares a State of Emergency.
In a briefing on Saturday afternoon, Cuomo warned that Hurricane Henri is ‘as serious as a heart attack’ and New York residents in parts of Long Island, particularly Fire Island, need to prepare to evacuate to higher ground as soon as possible.
‘We have short notice. We’re talking about tomorrow. If you have to move, if you have to stock up, if you have to get to higher ground it has to be today,’ Cuomo said.
He added that the storm is predicted to be as dangerous as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, ‘so, this is as serious as a heart attack’.
The State of Emergency is in place for Long Island, New York City, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley and the Capital Region.
Cuomo said Henri is forecasted to make landfall 7am on Sunday with the eye of the storm passing over Long Island by 11am. The storm is expected to batter the state for 26 hours before it subsides around 2pm on Monday.
He added that there will be delays or cancellations to flights, and that passengers should check with their airlines to see if their travel plans were still on track. In Long Island, most train services will be suspended from midnight and the MTA is considering shutting down the Harlem line.
At least 500 National Guard troops will be deployed today, and the State Police will have 1,000 staff on duty.
Forecasters predict the dangerous storm surge between three and six-feet could occur as early as late Saturday in portions of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, putting more than 40 million people under a weather warning.
The storm surge and tide could cause high water in coastal New England as Henri moves inland, while heavy rain and wind may also produce flooding.
Henri was veering a bit further west than originally expected and if it stays on this track, it would have eastern Long Island in its bullseye rather than New England, which hasn’t taken a direct hit from a hurricane in 30 years.
In 1991 Hurricane Bob in 1991 – a Category 2 storm – killed at least 17 people.
Flooding is expected to begin in New York City late Saturday or early Sunday nine years after the Big Apple was battered by Hurricane Sandy.
Cuomo said Sandy was also a Category 1 hurricane when it hit the state in 2012 and ‘this is projected to be that level of storm’,
‘We saw creeks turn into raging rivers,’ the governor added.
Cuomo said in the briefing: ‘Yes, New York tough. We’ll stay in place. We’ll beat the storm. New York tough also means New York smart. New York smart today means get out of harm’s way.’
‘I feel confident in saying to New Yorkers that they could not be in better hands in terms of an experienced team,’ the governor said.
He added: ‘Now, that doesn’t mean that Mother Nature doesn’t win. She wins. She won at Superstorm Sandy. She wins every time.’