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Preparations for a Storm Hurricane Henri Closed in on The Northeast

Intense winds and potentially dangerous tidal surges were expected as far east as Cape Cod and as far west as the New Jersey shore, and utilities warned ensuing power outages could last a week or even more.

With a top wind speed of 75 mph (120 kph) Saturday, Henri sped up to move north-northeast at 17 mph (27 kph) as of Saturday afternoon. It’s still about 395 miles (635 kilometers) south of Montauk Point on New York’s Long Island.

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. Authorities urged people to secure their boats, fuel up their vehicles and stock up on canned goods.

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The hurricane center storm surge between 3 and 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) was possible with Henri from Flushing, New York, to Chatham, Massachusetts; and for parts of the North Shore and South Shore of Long Island.

Rainfall between 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) was expected Sunday through Monday over the Northeast.

The storm’s latest track put it course to collide Sunday with a long stretch of coastline, with hurricane warnings extending from near the old whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, across the luxurious oceanfront estates of New York’s Hamptons, to the summer getaway of Fire Island.

Residents and visitors on Fire Island, a narrow strip of sandy villages barely above sea level off Long Island’s southern coast, were urged to evacuate. The last boats out will leave at 10:40 p.m. Saturday; after that, officials said, there may be no way out for people who decide to ride out the storm.

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“If they do not leave the island today, they will be stuck on the island and we do not know what kind of conditions they may be facing. But they could be difficult. They could be dangerous,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the town was considering issuing a voluntary evacuation advisory for about 6,000 people. He said current storm models show that the storm’s center would run “smack on the town of Southampton.” He described a run on supplies like batteries and flashlights as people “are starting to wake up.”

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In the Hamptons, the celebrity playground on Long Island’s east end, officials warned of dangerous rip currents and flooding that’s likely to turn streets like the mansion-lined Dune Road into lagoons.

“We have a lot of wealthy people. There’s no doubt that we do, but everybody pulls together in an emergency,” Schneiderman said. “So, you know, yeah, there are people hanging out on their yachts at the moment drinking martinis, but they’re also starting to talk about this storm and I’m sure they’re going to want to be helpful.”

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“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.”