Tropical Storm Fay in N.Y.: Heavy Rain, High Winds and Flash Floods Expected

Just in case pestilence, economic devastation and civil unrest were insufficient, nature is throwing another challenge at the New York area on Friday, in the form of Tropical Storm Fay.

The system, churning north across Maryland, Delaware and southern New Jersey as of 9 a.m. will hit New York City by late morning or early afternoon.

It is expected to bring flash floods, 2 to 3 inches of rain, 10-foot seas, downed trees, power failures, sustained winds over 30 miles per hour, gusts of over 50, and a slight chance of a tornado.

Ross Digman, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service station on Long Island that covers the New York City area, forecast that it would be a good day to stay inside.

“We have a saying in the Weather Service, ‘Turn around, don’t drown,” Mr. Digman said. “That’s going to be the key message for today.”

The storm has already dumped over four inches of rain on the area around Ocean City, Md., and over two inches across the south end of New Jersey, the Weather Service said. A tropical storm warning extends along the coast and some inland areas from Maryland up to Rhode Island.

Fay is a harbinger of a hurricane season that is expected to be unusually busy this year, because of warm ocean temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions.

This is the earliest the storm-namers at the Weather Service have gotten up to “F” since the current forecast era began in 1966, said Dennis Feltgen, public affairs officer for the National Hurricane Center. The previous record was set by Tropical Storm Franklin on July 22, 2005.

“It was forecast to be an active season and by golly it is,” Mr. Feltgen said. “We haven’t even scratched the surface of the season yet.” The season typically does not begin to peak until mid-August.

Because the storm is moving fast, it is not expected to bring widespread river flooding. But Mr. Digman said, “If you live near the coast and there’s tidal conditions, you can expect considerable freshwater flooding.” There may be isolated pockets of up to 7 inches of rain, the Weather Service said.

Mr. Digman said that damage from the storm would be “nothing like” the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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