NEW YORK - Fast-moving Tropical Storm Elsa hit the New York City region with torrential rains and high winds as it churned up the East Coast. Maximum sustained winds from the storm peaked near 50 mph as it moved through New York City and Long Island, the National Hurricane Center said in a Friday morning update. The storm then soaked New England as it moved out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Wind speeds had ticked down from overnight readings as high as 78 mph in coastal New Jersey that appeared to be "associated with nearby tornadoes," the center reported.
"Elsa departs up the New England coast this evening. The wind, flooding rain, and storm surge threat has ended," the National Weather Service said in a Friday afternoon update. "Rough ocean seas will continue into tonight. Dangerous rip currents are expected into Saturday."
Heavy rains caused traffic hazards in New York City and nearby suburbs, which were already reeling from a deluge Thursday that flooded roads and at least one subway station. Up to 6 inches of rain was possible in some areas Friday.
The hurricane center said a tornado or two was possible through early afternoon Friday over parts of Long Island and southeastern New England.
The storm was expected to bring 25-35 mph winds and gusts of up to 50 mph on Long Island along with 1-4 inches of rain and potentially higher amounts in some areas.
The National Weather Service warned that winds could bring down large tree limbs and flash flooding.
Coastal flooding and storm surge information
The storm wasn't expected to bring storm surge flooding along the shoreline, though.
High surf of 6 to 9 feet was possible into Friday night along the ocean beachfront, the National Weather Service said. Beach flooding and beach erosion were possible, especially around high tide on Friday morning and again on Friday night.
Western Long Island, New York City, north and west New Jersey, and western Connecticut were all under a Flash Flood Watch due to the storm.
Tropical Storm Elsa, the earliest fifth-named storm on record, moved across the Mid-Atlantic region Thursday evening into Friday morning. Tropical Storm force winds were felt as early as Thursday night.
The storm brought heavy rainfall. Conditions were expected to improve Friday afternoon with rain and wind coming to an end by around lunchtime.
"Locally heavy rainfall, damaging wind gusts in excess of 60 mph and small hail possible," FOX 5 NY Chief Meteorologist Nick Gregory said.
Increased swells and rip current risk were possible through Friday.
Tropical Storm Elsa left at least one person dead when it hit Flordia and injured several people in Georgia. Winds were down to about 40 MPH as it moved into South Carolina early on Thursday.
Tropical Storm Elsa NJ
Weather officials in New Jersey said the state saw rainfall amounts of 2-4 inches, with locally higher amounts up to 6 inches. The highest threat came over the I-95 urban corridor along with areas to the south and east.
There were no reports of significant power outages. Seas were 6-9 feet during the storm.
Flash Flood Watch and Warning
A Flash Flood Watch and Flash Flood Warning were in effect through Friday morning for most of the Tri-State Region.
Suffolk County was under a Flash Flood Warning until 12:45 p.m; Dutchess County until 2:00 p.m; Fairfield County until 11:45 a.m;
Fairfield County, Nassau County, and Westchester County were under a Flash Flood Warning until 12 p.m.
A Flash Flood Watch was in effect until 12 pm for:
Bronx County, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York County (Manhattan), Northeast Suffolk County, Northern Nassau County, Northern Queens County, Northern Westchester County, Northwest Suffolk County, Orange County, Putnam County, Richmond County (Staten Is.), Rockland County, Southeast Suffolk County, Southern Nassau County, Southern Queens County, Southern Westchester County, Southwest Suffolk County, Eastern Bergen County, Eastern Essex County, Eastern Passaic County, Eastern Union County, Hudson County, Western Bergen County, Western Essex County, Western Passaic County, Western Union County.
A Flash Flood Watch was in effect until 4 p.m. for:
Eastern Dutchess County, Eastern Ulster County, Western Dutchess County, Western Ulster County.
Excessive runoff from rainfall caused flooding of urban areas, highways, streets, underpasses, subway stations, as well as other poor drainage or low-lying spots, authorities said.
Power outage in NJ and NY
Utility companies serving the New York area said they were preparing for the storm and any problems that arise.
PSEG said workers for its subsidiaries in New Jersey (PSE&G) and in Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York (PSEG Long Island) were doing system checks and prepping for new outages in New Jersey.
There were no significant outages reported as of Friday morning.
"PSE&G has additional personnel ready to respond and we’re performing system and logistics checks to ensure the availability of critical materials, fuel and other supplies," Jack Bridges, a PSE&G vice president, said in a statement. "We encourage our customers to prepare as well."
PSEG Long Island said it has extra personnel ready to respond throughout the storm. Workers also strategically positioned supplies across the island to reduce travel and restoration time.
"High winds can send debris flying, topple trees and bring down power lines," Michael Sullivan, a senior director at PSEG Long Island, said in a statement. "Employees and contractors are prepared to respond to and restore any outages caused by the storm safely and as quickly as possible."
PSEG Long Island was highly criticized for its response to Hurricane Isaias in 2020.
In an email to customers, Con Edison said it has "secured extra crews" to deal with any outages of other problems that the storm causes.
"We're preparing for Tropical Storm Elsa, which may bring heavy rain and gusty winds, causing service problems," Con Ed said in the email. "We want you to be ready, too. When you report an outage at your home or business, we'll text or call you with restoration updates automatically."
Con Ed said you should stay clear of any downed power lines because they could be dangerous — always assume they are live.
"For your safety, we may be guarding downed wires until crews make repairs," Con Ed said. "Our personnel may be in unmarked cars, but will always have identification."
With FOX 5 NY's Dana Arschin and the Associated Press