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Northeastern United States bracing for Hurricane Henri

Forecasters are predicting a dangerous storm surge.

Image: PA

FORECASTERS PREDICT A dangerous storm surge in the northeast of the United States later today ahead of a hurricane.

Storm preparations grew more urgent today as the newly upgraded Hurricane Henri closed in on the coast.

Landfall is expected tomorrow and forecasters expect a dangerous storm surge could occur as early as later today in portions of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

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 that track holds, it would have eastern Long Island in its bull’s-eye rather than New England, which has not taken a direct hit from a hurricane since Hurricane Bob in 1991, a Category 2 storm that killed at least 17 people.

New York has not had a direct hit from a powerful cyclone since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012.

Some of the most important repairs from that storm have been completed, but many projects designed to protect against future storms remain unfinished.

Regardless of its exact landfall, broad impacts were expected across a large part 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 summer tourists.

Reflecting Henri’s changing track, a hurricane watch was lifted for the Cape on Saturday, though it remained under tropical storm and storm surge warnings.

The National Hurricane Centre said that a hurricane warning for the southern coast of New England, including Rhode Island, was being extended eastward to west of Westport, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker urged people holidaying on the Cape to leave well before Henri hits, and those who planned to start holidays there to delay their plans.

“We don’t want people to be stuck in traffic on the Cape Cod bridges when the storm is in full force on Sunday,” he said.

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With a top wind speed of 75 mph Saturday morning, Henri speeded up slightly to move north-northeast at 14 mph. It is still about 465 miles south of Montauk on New York’s Long Island.

Governor Ned Lamont warned Connecticut residents they should prepare to “shelter in place” from Sunday afternoon to at least Monday morning as the state braces for the first possible direct hit from a hurricane in decades.

“This storm is extremely worrisome,” said Michael Finkelstein, police chief and emergency management director in East Lyme, Connecticut.

“We haven’t been down this road in quite a while and there’s no doubt that we and the rest of New England would have some real difficulties with a direct hit from a hurricane.”

The weather service warned of the potential for damaging winds and widespread coastal flooding from Henri, and officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York cautioned that people could lose power for a week or even longer.

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