Tropical Storm Fay's outer bands were lashing the New York City area with heavy rains Friday afternoon ahead of an anticipated landfall in New Jersey -- a path that will have it drench a good portion of the Northeast.
Around 2 p.m., Fay's center was over the Atlantic Ocean about 25 miles east-southeast of Cape May, New Jersey, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, moving north, the National Weather Service said.
Landfall -- expected to be over New Jersey -- could happen Friday afternoon or evening.
Sustained tropical-storm-force winds -- at least 39 mph -- hit parts of the Delaware coast and these conditions were expected to spread northward through the day.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged residents to stay indoors for safety.
"Let's all just stay in and have some storm-induced social distancing," he said, borrowing from a concept more associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Some New Jersey communities intentionally lowered their lakes' water levels ahead of the storm, hoping to reduce flooding, Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra told CNN affiliate News 12 New Jersey.
"We've already proactively lowered our lakes over the last 24 hours," Kanitra said. "In storms like this ... there's nowhere for the water to go. So, this is one (step) we have available to proactively prepare."
About 2 to 4 inches of rain, with isolated amounts of around 7 inches, are forecast, bringing a risk of flash flooding from coastal Maryland and Delaware into New York City and southern New England.
Also, winds of 40 to 50 mph may hit parts of the coast, and beach erosion also may be an issue.
White House cites storms as reason for postponing Saturday rally in New Hampshire
Showers and thunderstorms also expected Friday night into Saturday in northern New England. A campaign rally for President Trump, scheduled Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has been postponed because of the forecast, the White House said.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the coasts of Delaware, New Jersey, New York -- including New York City and Long Island -- Connecticut and part of Rhode Island.
The warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.
"We're going to see some trees down. We're going to see some power lines down. Probably a little bit of beach erosion, and that heavy, heavy rainfall," CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers said.
By 9 a.m., the barrier peninsula community of Ocean City, Maryland, had received more than 4 inches of rain in three hours.
Fay formed off North Carolina's coast Thursday. It is the earliest tropical storm that begins with an "F" on record. The previous record was set on July 21, 2005.
"Around 6 o'clock tonight, that will be the worst weather you get in New York City. By 11 o'clock ... that weather gets into Boston, Connecticut, all the way through New Hampshire and Vermont," Myers said.