Tropical storm Henri - downgraded from a hurricane this morning - has made landfall near the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, on the border with Connecticut.
Coastal residents in New England have boarded up their windows, stocked up on supplies, and prepared their generators, local media report. The storm is expected to track to the northwest as it moves inland with more heavy rain and flooding expected.
President Joe Biden provided an update on the federal government’s response on Sunday afternoon, having already approved declarations of emergency for New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
More than 50 million people were put on weather alerts by authorities, according to CNN — more than 12 million under a storm surge warning, 5 million under a hurricane warning, and 37 million under a tropical storm warning.
Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of Hurricane Henri. Stay tuned for live updates.
Flooding in New York City
As Hurricane Henri moves towards the Long Island and New England, torrential rain lashed New York City overnight, causing flash flooding across the boroughs.
On Saturday, between 1.75 and 3.25 inches of rain fell across the city, halting some subway operations and flooding a number of roads.
Residents and local media took to Twitter to share images and videos of the flooding.
More than 50 million braced for tropical storm impact
More than 50 million people in the Northeast US have braced for the impact of Hurricane Henri.
According to CNN, more than 12 million people are under a storm surge warning, 5 million are under a hurricane warning, and some 37 million are under a tropical storm warning.
Last night, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced a State of Emergency order for the state and deployed 500 National Guard troops to respond to emergencies caused by the storm. Mr Cuomo also urged New Yorkers in affected areas to “prepare for heavy rains, strong winds and power outages”.
Hurricane Henri moving towards Long Island, New England
Hurricane Henri was reported to be moving towards Long Island and New England in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Around 2am, Henri was 135mi south-southeast of Montauk Point, Long Island in New York, the National Hurricane Centre said.
It was carrying top sustained wind speeds of 75mph and heading north at a speed of around 21mph.
The storm is expected to hit land later today at or near hurricane strength.
The National Hurricane Centre warned that Henri could also produce storm surges – where ocean waters are pushed above their normal level – of three to five feet in some areas, alongside torrential rainfall.
Homecoming concert cancelled half way through
Central Park’s Homecoming concert - intended to mark New York City’s “return” from the Covid pandemic - was cancelled mid-performance on Saturday night, due to thunderstorms caused by Hurricane Henri.
Three hours after the concert began, the New York Police Department issued an advisory warning attendees to clear the area.
“Due to approaching severe weather, all those attending the event are to calmly move to the nearest exists and proceed to areas outside of the park.”
It added: “This is NOT an emergency”.
Barry Manilow was partway through Can’t Smile Without You when the advisory was issued and the crowd of more than 60,000 started to disperse.
During the downpour, Central Park set an all-time record for rainfall within an hour, recording 1.94in beating the previous record of 1.76in recorded on 8 September 2004.
Many disappointed by early end to Homecoming concert
Many who were attending Central Park’s Homecoming concert were left disappointed as inclement weather, related to Hurricane Henri, forced an early end to the outdoor performances.
The concert was set to feature Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson, Carlos Santana, LL Cool J, Andrea Bocelli, the Killers and Barry Manilow, but not all groups were able to perform before the storm hit.
Specifically, The Killers and Bruce Springsteen had yet to perform, and fans could be heard yelling that they had paid to see these acts.
While most tickets to the concert were handed out for free to those who could show proof of Covid vaccination, VIP tickets were available for purchase, ranging from USD$399 (£290) to USD$5,000 (£3,670).
There has been no statement made regarding whether refunds will be provided or not.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted: “While it’s disappointing that tonight’s concert had to end early, the safety of everyone in attendance has to come first”.
National Hurricane Centre - key messages
The National Hurricane Centre issued four new key messages at 5am EDT on Sunday.
1. Dangerous storm surge inundation is expected to begin this morning in portions of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southeastern Massachusetts, where a Storm Surge Warning has been issued. Residents in these areas should follow any advice given by local officials.
2. Hurricane conditions are expected to begin this morning in portions of Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island where a Hurricane Warning is in effect. Tropical storm conditions will begin in these areas within the next couple of hours.
3. Heavy rainfall may lead to considerable flash, urban, and small stream flooding, along with the potential for widespread minor to isolated moderate river flooding over portions of Long Island, New England, eastern New York and New Jersey.
4. Swells from Henri will continue to affect much of the east coast of the US during the next day or so. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip currents.
Flooding in New York City
New York City resident and Twitter user @ExplainItToMe captured a stunning video of the flooding overnight in Brooklyn.
A staircase on the Eastern Parkway behind the Brooklyn Public Library has effectively become a waterfall.
Centre of storm projected to pass eastern tip of Long Island by midday
The centre of Hurricane Henri is projected to pass just off the eastern tip of Long Island by midday. It is currently around 50 miles southeast of Montauk Point on the tip of Long Island, and 80 miles south of Providence, Rhode Island, the National Hurricane Centre said in a 7am EDT update.
Henri’s maximum sustained winds are at 70mph - just below hurricane strength - moving north at 18mph. Both windspeed figures are slightly slower than those reported at 2am EDT, when sustained winds were at 75mph and the storm was moving at a speed of 21mph.
Lower wind speeds downgrade Henri to tropical storm
The National Hurricane Centre has reported that as of 7am, Henri’s maximum sustained winds were 70mph, down from 75mph overnight.
This speed downgrades Henri from a hurricane, which are characterised by winds of 75mph and above, to a tropical storm.
But, as WeatherNation lead meteorologist Steve Glazier says, tropical storm Henri “will still pack a punch”.
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