With Hurricane Henri fast approaching on Saturday afternoon, Suffolk County officials called on visitors and residents of Fire Island, which lies on the southern shore of Long Island, to voluntarily evacuate before landfall.
“If they do not leave the island today, they will be stuck,” warned Steven Bellone, the county executive.
Mr. Bellone said that ferry travel off the island was scheduled to end at 10:40 p.m. on Saturday and that there would be no service on Sunday, when Henri is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 storm.
When Tropical Storm Isaias tore through the region last summer, he said, Long Island saw more than 600,000 power outages — and that storm did not make a direct hit. After the utility PSEG Long Island told customers on Saturday that a destructive storm could come with outages of seven to 10 days, or even two weeks if the forecast worsens, the Nassau County executive, Laura Curran, called it an “unacceptable” timetable.
Scott Hirsch, the longtime owner of the Island Mermaid in Ocean Beach, a section of Fire Island, said the restaurant began to shut down early Saturday. “It’s not our first time at the dance here with stuff like this,” Mr. Hirsch said, before adding, “This one’s running on a scarier pattern.”
The storm is expected to bring heavy rain and possible flooding to cities and towns across the region, including in New York City, the Hudson Valley area, northern New Jersey and the Connecticut coast. When Tropical Storm Elsa traveled through the Northeast this summer, heavy rains forced New York subway riders to navigate waist-deep waters at some stations.
On Saturday, one of his final days in office, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said he was worried that because of fast-changing forecasts, there was less time for both officials and residents to prepare.
“I understand we didn’t have the buildup that we had with Superstorm Sandy,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting that New Yorkers have had only a day of warnings. “Don’t be deceived by that. It’s because the trajectory of the storm changed.”
The governor said that New Yorkers should expect flight cancellations, and that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was preparing to cancel some Long Island Rail Road service by midnight on Saturday. He declared a state of emergency for Long Island, New York City and several other regions of the state.
In New York City, officials warned of possible dangerous storm surges in parts of the Bronx and northern Queens. The city suspended outdoor dining for Sunday, and Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to postpone other unnecessary travel. “I’m telling all New Yorkers: Stay home tomorrow,” he said.
Officials also began canceling other activities and events. All city beaches will be closed to swimming on Sunday and Monday. And the annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour, which was scheduled for Sunday and expected to involve about 20,000 riders, was postponed for a week.
Source: Read Full Article