- Hurricane Henri is expected to hit Long Island starting late Saturday and the storm will barrel up to Maine, the NWS said.
- Power companies have already started preparations, expecting mass outages.
- Last year, tropical storm Isaias left over 2 million Americans without power for days.
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Hurricane Henri could leave millions of people across the densely-populated northeastern United States without power.
The storm strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday as it barrels towards land, and wind speeds could reach up to 85 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm could be the first hurricane to slam New England in 30 years and early estimates predict at least $1 billion in damages as it pushes from New York to Maine.
Power companies have warned of the possibility of extensive outages across New England, and in some areas residents could lose electricity for up to 10 days.
Long Island Power Authority, or PSEG-LI, which serves over 1 million people, said some residents should brace for outages of 7-10 days. It also urged people to be prepared.
"As the storm makes its way up the coast, employees are preparing for the possibility of high winds that can cause flying debris, and bring down trees and power lines," Michael Sullivan, senior director of transmission and distribution, said in a statement. "We encourage our customers to do the same at their homes and businesses."
Eversource, New England's largest energy delivery company with more than 4 million customers, voiced similar concerns to its customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
President and CEO Joe Nolan said during a Friday press conference that up to 49% of customers could be without power for several days.
"That is just the reality at this point," Nolan said.
Eversource is currently positioning line and tree crews and support staff across Connecticut in preparation for the storm.
"One of the biggest challenges for storms like Henri is that changes in the storm track can significantly alter potential impacts," Craig Hallstrom, president of regional electric operations at Eversource, said in a statement. "We will continue to adjust our response plans to shift crews and other resources accordingly as the storm approaches New England, and our dedicated employees are ready to work around the clock to serve our customers."
Both PSEG and Eversource recommend that their customers create storm kits with necessary essentials such as pet food, medications, flashlights, extra batteries, and a first aid kit to use if necessary.
Central Maine Power is also deploying more crews to deal with outages, local news outlet WMTV reported.
Last year, when tropical storm Isaias hit the East Coast, more than 2 million people across lost power. In Connecticut, about 800,000 people were left without electricity for over a week. On Long Island, approximately 645,000 people experienced a power outage from the tropical storm, according to a report from the Long Island Power Authority board of trustees.
Because of the severe outages and backlash from customers for a failure to respond, electrical providers are hoping to be better prepared.