Downgraded Tropical Storm Henri set to deliver more rain and wind to NYC

Waves hit the shore at Ponquogue Beach as Hurricane Henri, now downgraded to a tropical storm, nears the coast in Long Island on Aug. 22.
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

After pelting New York City Saturday night with heavy rain from its feeder bands, Tropical Storm Henri lost its hurricane status as it moved closer to the Long Island and New England coast on Sunday morning.

As of 8 am Aug. 22, the center of Henri’s circulation sat about 40 miles south-southeast of Montauk Point, with top winds of 70 mph. It’s moving to the north-northwest at 16 mph, and is expected to make landfall on eastern Long Island or southern New England later Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The projected track of Tropical Storm Henri, as of 8 am Aug. 22.Courtesy National Weather Service

The change in track reduced the probability that New York City will see sustained tropical storm force winds in excess of 39 mph. Nevertheless, the Five Boroughs could see heavy rains develop on Sunday. 

On Saturday night, Henri brought record-setting rainfall to the Five Boroughs, with parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island getting particularly drenched. Central Park recorded 4.45 inches of rainfall as of 1 am Aug. 22, with 1.69 inches of rain coming between 10 and 11 pm on Aug. 21 — an all-time record for a single hour of rainfall.

The heavy rain and lightning from Henri’s feeder bands forced the confusing cancellation of the We Love NYC concert on Central Park’s Great Lawn.

The downgraded system continues to pose a storm surge threat for parts of the city, particularly areas of northeast Queens, where tides may 3 to 5 feet higher than normal along the Long Island Sound.

Projected rainfall totals related to Henri.Courtesy National Weather Service

Rip currents are still expected along other parts of the city’s coast; all New York City beaches are closed Sunday due to the approaching storm.

Once it makes landfall, Henri’s expected to slow down as it traverses over New England on a north-northwesterly track. It will then turn eastward over Vermont and New Hampshire then head back out to sea Tuesday morning.

Storm surge estimates.Courtesy National Weather Service

In advance of the storm, Mayor Bill de Blasio and outgoing Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared states of emergency, mobilizing resources to prepare for the advancing system. On Sunday, President Joe Biden approved the disaster declaration request Cuomo sent on Sunday, mobilizing the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to coordinate a response to the storm and reimburse the state for 75 percent of all preparation costs.

The MTA cancelled Long Island Rail Road service to the east end of Long Island, which is expected to bear the brunt of Henri. 

A radar picture of Tropical Storm Henri as it nears the Long Island/New England coasts.Courtesy National Weather Service

“On Sunday, Aug. 22, passenger train service will not resume until we have checked our infrastructure and determined that it is safe to do so,” the MTA reported.

Dozens of flights to and from New York City airports are delayed and/or cancelled due to the storm. Check with your airline carrier before heading out to the airport. 

Check back for further developments on Tropical Storm Henri.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.