Henri weakens after rains spray New York onlookers

NEW YORK, Aug.22 (Reuters) – Storm Henri weakened as it approached the U.S. northeast coast on Sunday morning, but not before torrential downpours overwhelmed a star-studded concert intended to mark New York City’s emergence from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

A light rain that turned into a downpour on Saturday night sent thousands of music fans to the free “Homecoming Concert” in Central Park in Manhattan to stream for releases amid a performance by Barry Manilow, which continued to sing for a while even after its audio has been muted.

Artists who couldn’t continue due to the abrupt end of the concert included Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and the Killers.

Thousands of spectators, some still queuing to enter as the show emptied, had passed through an airport-style security checkpoint where they also had to show proof of coronavirus vaccination to enter.

The concert had been promoted for weeks by Mayor Bill de Blasio to show the city’s resilience in the face of the pandemic. Read more

Its unplanned premature end as Henry, then still a low-intensity hurricane, rocked the east coast, left CNN, which was broadcasting it live, with airtime to fill, which he did in part by calling Manilow into the network and singing.

By Sunday at 11:00 a.m. EDT (3:00 p.m. GMT), Henri had been downgraded to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of around 60 mph (95 km / h) with its center 15 miles (25 km) off Montauk, New York, at the eastern tip of Long Island, said the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The center of the storm was expected to reach the Rhode Island coast on Sunday afternoon.

But its rain bands stretched from eastern Pennsylvania to southern New Hampshire, covering northern New Jersey, the New York metropolitan area, and southern New England.

While the NHC lifted storm surge alerts for western Long Island and parts of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, warnings were still in effect for most of Long Island and southern New England with an expected coastal wave ranging from 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 m) in several places.

NHC’s tropical storm warning has covered more than 42 million people.

As Henri’s winds weakened, most concerns centered on the potential for flooding, with the NHC forecasting 3-6 inches (7.5-15cm) of precipitation over much of the region. affected, because the movement of the storm was to slow down on earth.

“Henri’s heavy rains can result in significant flash, urban and small-stream flooding, as well as the potential for isolated large-scale minor to moderate river flooding,” the NHC said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was particularly concerned about flooding in the Catskill Mountains north of New York.

“We already have saturated soil, so the soil’s absorptive capacity is limited, and that’s what makes this level of precipitation particularly problematic,” Cuomo said in a briefing.

President Joe Biden on Sunday authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in New York if necessary.

Writing and additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Diane Craft and Susan Fenton

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Corina C. Butler

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