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New England governors prepare emergency declarations as Hurricane Henri nears

The governors of Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island began making emergency preparations on Saturday as Hurricane Henri barreled toward New England.

Driving the news: A hurricane warning is in effect for the South shore of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, the north shore of Long Island from Port, Jefferson Harbor to Montauk Point, New Haven Connecticut to the west of Westport Massachusetts and Block Island.

  • Maximum sustained winds as of 2 p.m. ET Saturday hit 75 mph, per the National Hurricane Center.
  • Henri is forecast to bring an array of potentially deadly threats, including storm surge flooding that could peak between 3 and 5 feet above normally dry ground, from Long Island (including Long Island Sound) all the way east to Nantucket.
  • The hurricane's biggest dangers will likely be in the form of water, from coastal storm surge to inland flooding from heavy rainfall.

Details: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency declaration Saturday for Long Island, New York City, Hudson Valley, Westchester and the Capital District region.

  • He also called up 500 National Guard members to respond to likely flooding, along with 1,000 law enforcement officials who will be on duty in the affected areas.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency for the city Saturday afternoon.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamond (D) called up 200 National Guard members, according to the Hartford Courant.
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal said members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency are staging supplies across the region, such as food, medicine and generators from the military base in Westover, Massachusetts, per the Courant.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed an emergency declaration Friday ahead of Henri’s landfall, and said during a press briefing Saturday that five shelters across the state will open at approximately 8 p.m. He recommended that residents prepare for power outages and get supplies as soon as possible.

The big picture: The governors had already been in touch or planned to be in touch with President Biden on Saturday.

  • Cuomo said the president is willing to sign a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide the state with federal assistance to address the storm.
  • Lamond said Friday that he planned to ask Biden for the same assistance. He told people to "be prepared and expect to shelter in place by Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning."
  • McKee said that state officials are in contact with the White House, FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard.

What's next: Henri is forecast to intensify throughout the day, peaking at Category 1 intensity with about 85 mph maximum sustained winds by Saturday night. Its winds are likely to weaken rapidly once the storm moves inland, but the heavy rain and flooding will persist.

Go deeper: Hurricane Henri poised to strike New England with storm surge, inland flooding, damaging winds

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