Updated: 12:30 p.m., Aug. 22: Henri reached Long Island early Sunday morning as a tropical storm, bringing with it heavy rain and 25 to 35 mph winds across eastern Long Island, conditions that were expected to worsen and spread westward as the day wears on, according to the National Weather Service.
As of noon, it was raining in Salisbury and East Meadow with winds at 11 miles per hour. Roads were deserted, with residents heeding to yesterday’s request by County Executive Laura Curran and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stay home.
Members of the East Meadow Fire Department were at the firehouses. "We have men on standby until needed," Chief Paul Kosiba said. "This is our normal routine. Residents should not worry."
He also said there have not been any calls out of the ordinary thus far.
The NWS downgraded Henri to a tropical storm from a Category 1 hurricane when its wind speed dropped from an average of 75 to 70 mph. That happened right at 7 a.m.
The weather forcast for the Salisbury and East Meadow areas is rain throughout the day. Winds will pick up but not nearly as high as what was predicted when Henri was believed to be a hurricane.
At 7 a.m. Henri was circulating in the Atlantic Ocean 50 miles southeast of Southampton. That put the storm significantly farther east than predicted on Saturday, when forecasters estimated the storm's track would run straight through the center of the island, in the Islip area. Henri's track, coupled with its reduction to a tropical storm, should reduce its impacts for Nassau County, according to forecasters.
The NWS is still warning, however, that this remains a major storm that will bring potential downpours in Henri's outer bands throughout the day through 4 p.m., strengthening winds, a two- to four-foot storm surge for the South Shore and potentially higher for the North Shore, and rough surf. Power outages remain a concern, as well.
"Though Tropical Storm Henri moved further east, we are urging residents not to let their guard down and to continue being vigilant as heavy rain, winds and flooding are in the forecast today into Monday," Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin said. "The Town of Hempstead's Storm Response Team remains mobilized and ready to respond to downed trees and other hazardous conditions along the town's 1,200 miles of roadways."
Beaches will remain closed, he added, and all are advised to stay out the water and off the roads.
"With the storm comes the danger of strengthened riptides and large waves," a town release had previously stated.
And Clavin would like to see residents remain home.
"We ask residents to avoid all unnecessary travel throughout the storm, monitor all local weather reports and to continue taking precautions to stay safe," he said.
The Long Island Rail Road is running on time. Only a few people waited for the train at the Hicksville station at 10 a.m. and the lot was deserted.
Town of Hempstead officials began "battening down the hatches" at its South Shore marinas early Friday morning, Supervisor Don Clavin said.
Given the potential intensity of the storm, some power outages may last up to seven to 10 days, PSEG Long Island officials said Saturday. "We continue to monitor the track of Tropical Storm Henri," said Michael Sullivan, senior director of transmission and Distribution at PSEG Long Island. "As the storm makes its way up the coast, employees are preparing for the possibility of high winds that can cause flying debris, and bring down trees and power lines. We encourage our customers to do the same at their homes and businesses."
In response, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat from Baldwin, said, “Potential seven- to 10-day power outages are unacceptable. While we are all hoping for the best outcome this weekend, PSEG must call in additional crews who are prepared to respond to our residents' outages.”