Tropical Storm Henri is charting a course toward the Northeast, with potentially severe impacts in the New York City region later this weekend.
The storm, which remains about 700 miles south of the city, is projected to strengthen into a hurricane later today. Current forecasts suggest Henri will graze the east coast of Long Island around midday on Sunday, bringing heavy winds and the potential for storm surges and coastal flooding.
Thunder storms are also expected to hit the city this weekend, posing a threat to the NYC Homecoming concert and Five Boro Bike Tour.
“Henri, it’s such an elegant name, but it’s totally bad timing,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday. “[But] it appears to be hitting us not too directly.”
If the system strengthens, however, Henri could hook west toward New York City. Enough uncertainty remains that New Yorkers should be vigilant, according to Matthew Wunsch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“Most of the trends over last 24-36 hours have been moving closer to our area,” Wunsch said. “Everyone is the New York City metro area should keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared in case it does shift closer.”
Portions of Suffolk County and coastal Connecticut are currently under a Hurricane Watch — the first time in nearly a decade that such an alert has been issued in the area. A Storm Surge Watch is currently in effect from East Rockaway Inlet to Montauk.
It’s the fourth time in just two years that the New York City region has felt the impacts of tropical storms — far above average, according to Wunsch. Most recently, remnants of Tropical Storm Elsa flooded the city’s subways earlier this summer.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, climate change has already made New York more vulnerable to coastal flooding and tropical storms, both which are projected to worsen significantly as the planet continues to warm.