rain

Strong thunderstorms are forecast to hit Long Island as the remnants of Hurricane Laura passes south of the region on Saturday, experts say.

The National Weather Service also warned strong rip currents at oceanfront beaches Saturday.

“The impacts for us should be fairly minor,” said David Radell, an Upton-based NWS meteorologist, adding that “possibly strong to potentially severe thunderstorms” are possible Saturday afternoon. “Most of the rain should be passing south.”

The National Hurricane Center said that the remnants of Laura, which made landfall as a category 4 storm in Louisiana on Wednesday, is now a tropical depression.

“The remains of Laura will cross the central Appalachians Saturday, before becoming absorbed by an approaching cold front that is forecast to move off the mid-Atlantic coastline by late Saturday,” NHC said.

Laura comes three weeks after Tropical Storm Isaias downed thousands of trees, knocking out power to 420,000 homes and businesses on LI. 

“We … will have a full complement of personnel to respond safely and as quickly as possible to any service interruptions it may cause,” said John O’Connell, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Transmission and Distribution Operations.

The utility is calling in crews from out of state to assist with possible outages stemming from the storm. But Radell said widespread damage seen in Isaias is not likely. The biggest danger appears to be those braving the ocean.

“Life-threatening rip currents are likely for all people entering the surf zone,” NWS said in a statement. “Anyone visiting the beaches should stay out of the surf. Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away from shore into deeper water.”

Laura‘s maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour upon landfall in Lake Charles, La. easily bested Hurricane Katrina, which sparked deadly levee breaches in New Orleans in 2005, and arrived with wind speeds of 125 mph.

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