Hundreds of residents on the US East Coast are being urged to prepare for one of the worst hurricanes in decades.
Long Island in New York and southern parts of New England are bracing for Hurricane Henri, which is expected to make landfall on Sunday.
The tropical storm was upgraded to a hurricane this weekend as it gathered pace, with New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo declaring a state of emergency.
Heavy rain has already caused disruption in New York City and New Jersey, with flooding in some parts overnight.
Winds of up to 75mph (120kph) and as much as six inches (15cm) of rain is forecast.
Hurricanes are common at this time of the year on the southern coast but they are rare on the eastern US coastline – the last time New England was hit by a storm of this magnitude was in 1991, when Hurricane Bob killed 17 people.
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Officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for some residents who live close to the water in Madison, Connecticut, with winds near the coasts expected to exceed 50mph (80kph).
People on Fire Island in Long Island have been urged to leave, while residents in Massachusetts, Connecticutand New York have been warned they may lose power for days.
Meanwhile, a concert in Manhattan’s Central Park was cancelled while it under way on Saturday night due to the severe weather.
The event was being held to celebrate New York City’s recovery from COVID-19, with Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Jennifer Hudson scheduled to perform.
Officials asked concert-goers to leave the park during Barry Manilow’s set amid the threat of lightning before New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said the event had to be called off and urged attendees to go home.
Mr Cuomo, who will leave office in two days, pleaded with New Yorkers to make last-minute preparations, warning that heavy rain, winds and storm surges from Henri could be as devastating as 2012’s deadly Superstorm Sandy in some parts.
He warned the heavy rain could cause problems as far north as the Hudson River Valley.
“We have short notice. We’re talking about tomorrow,” he said.
“So if you have to move, if you have to stock up if you have to get to higher ground, it has to be today. Please.”
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Barry Manilow muted then yanked offstage at NYC ‘s Homecoming Concert (for vaccinated people) as it’s cancelled mid-song over a severe weather warning pic.twitter.com/du2HP7PNCN
— Megan Palin (@Megan_Palin) August 22, 2021
Connecticut’s governor Ned Lamont warned residents they should prepare to “shelter in place” from Sunday afternoon until at least Monday morning as the state braces for the first possible direct hit from a hurricane in decades.
In Rhode Island, officials similarly urged residents to stay at home.
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Extreme weather has already caused devastation in the south, with 10 people killed after flooding in middle Tennessee and eight dead after Hurricane Grace hit Mexico for the second time in two days.
In Tennessee, dozens of people are reported to be missing, while three are missing in Mexico’s Cuitlahuac Garcia.