Henri Becomes A Hurricane As It Nears Historic New England Landfall
Tropical Storm Henri strengthened into a hurricane Saturday, with the storm maintaining a track toward the northeastern U.S. that could make it the first hurricane to make landfall in New England in more than 30 years.
Henri was categorized as a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph as of the most recent advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
A hurricane warning is in effect for eastern Long Island and from New Haven, Conn., to Rhode Island and extreme western portions of the Massachusetts coastline.
Henri is forecast to make landfall on Long Island on Sunday evening before making another landfall in New England while “at or near hurricane strength,” according to the National Hurricane Center.
A storm surge of up to five feet is expected across Long Island Sound extending eastward to Massachusetts, including Nantucket Sound, with forecasters warning Saturday: “This is a life-threatening situation.”
Considerable “flash, urban, and small stream flooding” is also possible across much of the northeastern U.S., where rainfall totals could reach 10 inches since Henri will slowly move through the area on Sunday and Monday, which is highly unusual for storms affecting the Northeast.
New York City and parts of northern New Jersey are under tropical storm warnings, since the hurricane’s windfield is expected to expand, bringing impacts far away from the center.
“The environment looks favorable for Henri to continue to gain strength through tonight,” forecasters said, though the storm could start weakening just before it makes landfall as it moves over cooler waters.
A hurricane hasn’t struck New England since Hurricane Bob in 1991, which made landfall in Rhode Island as a Category 2 storm on Aug. 19 of that year.
Henri’s track toward the U.S. is an unexpected shift from earlier forecasting. As recently as Wednesday, the U.S. coastline wasn’t included in the five-day cone of the storm’s projected path, with Henri expected to move out to sea from its position southwest of Bermuda. But changes in the expected patterns have pushed Henri’s projected track hundreds of miles to the west. The track across New England is now of high confidence, with forecasters noting that “the steering pattern appears fairly well established now.”
What To Watch For
If the storm brings significant impacts to Long Island, New Yorkers could be dealing with a disaster response effort during a transfer of gubernatorial power. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation is set to take effect on Tuesday, at which point Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will assume the governorship.
20 Missing In N.C. After Flooding Rains From Fred, As Another Tropical Threat Looms For East Coast (Forbes)
Who Is Kathy Hochul, The Woman Replacing Cuomo As New York’s Governor? (Forbes)