US meteorologists said Storm Henry has been upgraded to the level of a hurricane and is now expected to make landfall on the US East Coast on Sunday.
The US National Hurricane Center said that “although some weakening is expected before landfall on Sunday, hurricane strength is expected to be at or close to it when it reaches the coasts of Long Island and southern New England.”
The center added that the maximum wind speed increased to nearly 120 km/h with higher gusts.
Officials in the New England region, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, warned people to be prepared.
“All residents are advised to begin preparations for the storm today, and to pay close attention to the local weather,” the office of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said.
His state, which will close parks and beaches from today until Monday, was bracing for strong winds to cut power to 300,000 local residents.
The storm is now likely to be the first hurricane to make landfall in New England in 30 years.
Hurricane Bob was the last hurricane to hit New England directly in 1991.
It has been nearly a decade since such severe weather was to be expected in part of the region.
“The last time our hurricane watches were released for the area was for Hurricane Irene back in late August 2011,” the National Weather Service tweeted in New York City.
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