Henri heads Northeast as millions gird for winds, flooding

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Henri was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical tempest aboriginal Sunday, inactive packing upwind gust of up to 75 mph arsenic it began lashing the northeastern U.S. coastline.

Millions connected New York’s Long Island and successful confederate New England braced for the anticipation of flooding, toppled trees and extended powerfulness outages.

With the halfway of the tempest projected to walk conscionable disconnected the eastbound extremity of Long Island by midday, hurricane warnings extended from coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island to the luxurious oceanfront estates of New York’s Hamptons.

The tempest had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) successful an 8 a.m. EDT update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center, conscionable shy of hurricane status. The highest winds measured were 75 mph (121 kph) disconnected the seashore of Rhode Island.

Experts warned that the storm’s biggest menace apt won’t travel from upwind but from tempest surge and inland flooding, caused by what are expected to beryllium dense and sustained rains. Some of the highest rainfall totals were expected inland.

Troy Buckner of Southampton, successful eastbound Long Island’s Hamptons, wouldn’t fto the tempest interrupt his near-daily regular of getting java with his dada astatine the Golden Pear, 1 of the fewer spots unfastened connected Main Street Sunday morning.

“Today we thought we’d inactive effort to support a small spot of normalcy, but we’re heading backmost location for the remainder,” Buckner said arsenic the rainfall pelted down. “We program for the worst. You conscionable ne'er know. We ever expect Southampton could beryllium the center, the bull’s eye.”

A deficiency of large roadways connected the eastbound extremity of Long Island makes wide evacuations untenable, East Hampton Mayor Jerry Larsen said.

“We person 1 lane of question leaving the Hamptons truthful it’s a small hard to bid evacuations,” Larsen told The Associated Press. “So astir radical volition structure successful spot and, God willing, everyone volition travel done this OK.”

In mentation for the storm, officials successful Providence, Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Massachusetts, closed elephantine hurricane barriers that were built successful the 1960s, aft devastating storms successful 1938 and 1954.

Massachusetts’ Steamship Authority canceled each Sunday ferry work betwixt the mainland and the fashionable abrogation islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket aft the U.S. Coast Guard unopen down ports connected Cape Cod and New Bedford. Tourists waiting successful their cars, hoping for a last-minute ferry disconnected the islands, were stranded until the worst of Henri passes.

The archetypal thunderstorms bringing what could beryllium up to fractional a ft (15 centimeters) of rainfall arrived precocious Saturday, and flash flooding began successful immoderate areas overnight. Bands of dense rainfall overwhelmed tempest drains and drivers plowed done foot-deep h2o successful a fewer spots successful New York City, and Newark and Hoboken, New Jersey.

Tropical storm-intensity winds were opening to onslaught the seashore Sunday morning. Rising tide threatened to nutrient unsafe tempest surge.

People successful the projected way spent Saturday scrambling to banal up connected groceries and gasoline. Those adjacent to the seashore boarded up windows and, successful immoderate cases, evacuated.

Residents and visitors connected Fire Island, a constrictive portion of sandy villages hardly supra oversea level disconnected Long Island’s confederate coast, were urged to evacuate. The past boats retired near earlier 11 p.m. Saturday and officials warned determination mightiness beryllium nary mode to scope radical near behind.

Approaching terrible upwind Saturday nighttime also cut abbreviated a superstar-laden performance successful Central Park.

Gov. Ned Lamont warned Connecticut residents they should hole to “shelter successful place” from Sunday day done astatine slightest Monday greeting arsenic the authorities braces for the archetypal imaginable nonstop deed from a hurricane successful decades. Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee issued a akin warning.

President Joe Biden declared disasters successful overmuch of the region, opening the purse strings for national betterment aid. The White House said Biden discussed preparations with northeastern governors and that New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who succeeds Gov. Andrew Cuomo connected Tuesday, besides participated.

Major airports successful the portion remained unfastened arsenic the tempest approached, though hundreds of Sunday’s flights were canceled. Service connected immoderate branches of New York City’s commuter obstruction strategy was suspended done Sunday, arsenic was Amtrak work betwixt New York and Boston.

New York hasn’t had a nonstop deed from a almighty cyclone since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc successful 2012. Some of the astir important repairs from that tempest person been completed, but galore projects designed to support against aboriginal storms stay unfinished.

Regardless of its nonstop landfall, wide impacts were expected crossed a ample swath of the Northeast, extending inland to Hartford, Connecticut, and Albany, New York, and eastward to Cape Cod, which is teeming with tens of thousands of summertime tourists.

Storm surge betwixt 3 and 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) was imaginable successful overmuch of Long Island Sound each the mode to Chatham, Massachusetts, and somewhat little connected Long Island’s Atlantic coast, the hurricane halfway said. Flash flooding was imaginable successful inland areas already saturated by caller rain.

Porter reported from New York. Associated Press writers Michael Hill successful Albany, New York, William J. Kole successful Warwick, Rhode Island, Mallika Sen and Larry Neumeister successful New York, Mike Melia successful Hartford, Connecticut, and Mark Pratt successful Waltham, Massachusetts, contributed to this report.

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