MIAMI – Fast-moving Tropical Storm Fay made landfall in New Jersey on Friday amid heavy, lashing rains that closed beaches and flooded shore town streets.
The storm system was weakening as it moved over New Jersey and was expected to continue doing so overnight, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. advisory. The storm is expected to bring 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain, with the possibility of minor coastal flooding from New Jersey to Rhode Island as well as flash flooding. That's down from earlier forecasts of about 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) of rain.
The storm made landfall along the coast of New Jersey about 10 miles (15 kilometers) north-northeast of Atlantic City, according to national forecasters and was around 45 miles (72 kilometers) north-northeast of that city and 50 miles (80 kilometers) south-southwest of New York City as of the latest advisory.
Several beaches in Delaware had been temporarily closed because of the storm. And police in Ocean City asked drivers to avoid southern parts of the tourist town because flooding had already made some roads impassable. Some streets in the New Jersey shore towns of Sea Isle City and Wildwood were flooded, according to social media posts. Seaside Heights, New Jersey, reported a sustained wind of 37 mph (60 kph) and New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport reported a wind gust of 45 mph (72 kph), said forecasters.
A tropical storm warning remained in effect from Great Egg Inlet, New Jersey to Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The warning area includes Long Island and the Long Island Sound in New York, forecasters said. Heavy rain was falling in New York City on Friday afternoon as the center of the storm moved northward toward upstate New York and western New England.
“We expect some pretty heavy winds, and we need people to be ready for that, and some flash flooding in certain parts of the city,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a briefing Friday morning.
The summer storm's impact on the city was expected to be ”pretty limited," but de Blasio said it would be a bad night for outdoor dining — the only sit-down service allowed at city restaurants because of the pandemic.
"If you were going to go out tonight, instead order in and keep helping our restaurant community,” he said.
The shoreline town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, was preparing to open the local high school as a 2,000-person shelter. In a nod to the coronavirus outbreak, Police Chief Michael Spera they will be handing out masks and will not be sending residents to the gym or other common areas.
“They will actually be escorted into individual classrooms,” he said. “If you take a school and make pretend that it’s a hotel, we’ll be using individual classrooms like individual hotel rooms.”
He said families will be allowed to stay together in one room. People who indicate they have symptoms that might be associated with the virus will be segregated to a separate area of the school.
President Donald Trump said the storm is being monitored and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was poised to help if needed.
“We’re fully prepared. FEMA’s ready in case it’s bad. Shouldn’t be too bad, but you never know," Trump told reporters while departing the White House for Florida.
Trump postponed his Saturday rally in New Hampshire due to the weather, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
The storm was moving north Friday evening at about 14 mph (22 kph) and producing top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph), forecasters said. Earlier observations showed it moving at 8 mph (13 kph) with top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph).
Fay is the earliest sixth-named storm on record, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. The previous record was Franklin on July 22, 2005, Klotzbach tweeted.
Two named storms formed before the official June 1 start of the hurricane season. None of this season’s previous five named storms strengthened into hurricanes.