Tropical Storm Henri briefly disrupted shipping in the northeastern United States, forcing mariners to take precautions at ports from New Jersey to Maine.
The port captain for the port of New York and New Jersey, the region’s largest port, warned on Saturday that the giant complex could close to merchant vessel traffic if weather conditions become severe. The storm made landfall in Rhode Island Sunday afternoon and slowed, dumping a record-breaking downpour of rain over New York City as it passed. It weakened quickly at winds of 40 mph, just above the threshold of a tropical storm, and is expected to weaken quickly as it continues over New England.
On Sunday evening, the New York harbor master had reset Port Condition Yankee, advising mariners to exercise caution but allowing them to navigate at will (subject to advice from pilots at the dock). Coast Guard and industry partners quickly conducted a waterway safety assessment south of the George Washington Bridge and Hunters Point, allowing pilotage to resume in most of the port.
The harbor master thanked the maritime community for their proactive approach to preparing for the storm.
“The experienced commercial mariners and the marine industry we work with on a daily basis are a vital part of our hurricane and severe weather plans. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate their proactive efforts to prepare for this storm. Their partnership, with our fellow First Responders in New York and New Jersey, really creates the fabric that makes this port special, ”said Captain Marc Sennick, Deputy Port Captain for New York and New Jersey.
The Oasis of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships in the world, was due to depart on Sunday for a test cruise from Bayonne, New Jersey. Royal Caribbean chief meteorologist James Van Fleet predicted that the storm would not be severe enough in the New York area to disrupt his schedule and that it would not experience rough seas. Sunday at 5 p.m. local time, the Oasis des Mers was moored in Bayonne.
In Connecticut and Rhode Island, where the storm made landfall, the Southeasern New England area defined the Zulu (closed) port condition for the entire region – including Narragansett Bay, Mount Hope Bay, Buzzards, Cape Cod Bay, Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound. In particular, the COTP instituted a safe zone for Narragansett, Mount Hope, Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay, requiring prior approval from the Coast Guard for transits. These closures remained in effect Sunday evening.
Although the strong winds from the storm have eased, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting heavier precipitation and isolated flash flooding as it moves slowly north through Massachusetts. It should turn further east and set sail late Monday.