Where will Henri make landfall? New England braces for first hurricane in 30 years

Tropical Storm Henri is expected to reach hurricane level by August 21 as New England braces for intense weather after decades


                            Where will Henri make landfall? New England braces for first hurricane in 30 years
People walk down a flooded street as Hurricane Sandy moves up the coast on October 29, 2012, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

New England will face its first hurricane in over 30 years, as Tropical Storm Henri barrels towards the East Coast. The storm is expected to intensify into a hurricane shortly, as it makes landfall in the Northeastern region of the US. States in the region have already begun preparing for the rare occurrence, with the National Guard on standby, and boats pulled out of the water. The last time the region was in such a situation was in 1991 when Hurricane Bob made landfall.

Henri is the eighth named storm to form in the Atlantic, with this year's storm season expected to be milder than 2020. So far, that appears to be the case, with devastation this year being severe, but not as bad as Hurricane Laura in 2020. In July, Hurricane Elsa battered Florida, halting operations on the collapsed Surfside condo. As we reported on August 1, the storms also resulted in massive flooding in Salt Lake City.

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Florida was provided some relief after Tropical Storm Fred altered course, heading towards Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Now, for the first time in many years, New Englanders will have to brace for a hurricane, with Henri barrelling towards the region. Even though it's been 30 years, the region appears to be taking the warning seriously, in part thanks to the lessons learned from Hurricane Bob, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 that hit New York, and New Jersey. 

A helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts, observes property damages caused by Hurricane Sandy on October 30, 2012, in New Jersey. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Swanson/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

 

Lessons from Hurricane Bob

While the East Coast is no stranger to storms and hurricanes, states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont have been less affected as compared to their southern counterparts. In 1991, New England was ripped apart by Hurricane Bob, which proved to be one of the costliest in the region. The hurricane killed 17 people and caused damage worth at least $1.5b ($3b in today's dollars). Bob battered the region with sustained winds of 90mph, and gusts up to 138 mph, making it one of the strongest in the region.

Before Bob, the last storms to cause such severe damage in the region were Carol and Edna way back in 1954. As CBS Local reported, at the time, New Englanders didn't really take Bob seriously. "Amazingly, there was not a lot of hype for the storm. Many did not even know it was coming or took it seriously until the day it arrived," the publication wrote. It didn't end well. Last-minute evacuations from Cape Cod resulted in an 11-mile backup at the Sagamore Bridge. 

The path of hurricanes to have hit New England in the past. (The Weather Channel/Twitter)

 

The lack of preparation hit New England terribly, with damage in the billions despite Bob not being the worst storm of the season. Hurricanes in New England have proved to be quite infrequent, which is what would have prompted people in the area to take it so casually. Before Bob, Edna and Carol struck before the National Hurricane Center even existed. Before, that, severe storms have struck New England in 1938, and 1815.

Where will Henri make landfall?

It appears the region has learned its lessons from 1991 and is preparing well in advance for Henri. Currently, it is still classified as a Tropical Storm but is expected to intensify into a hurricane by Saturday, August 21. It will reportedly make landfall on August 22, first in the states of New York and Connecticut. Rhode Island and Massachusets are also expected to receive the effects of landfall, including the islands of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod. 

The cone of probability for Tropical Storm Henri as predicted by NOAA. (NOAA)

 

The hurricane is expected to make landfall at around 8 pm on Aug 22, before moving to central Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire by Monday, August 23. By Monday evening, Aug 23, southern parts of Vermont will also feel the effects of the hurricane. NOAA has also predicted that the hurricane may change path and batter parts of Maine. Vermont and Maine are expected to receive storm winds by Sunday night. 

Preparations are well underway in these areas. Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker has urged people vacationing in Cape Cod to return home, saying, "We don’t want people to be stuck in traffic on the Cape Cod bridges when the storm is in full force." 1,000 National Guard troops were also put on standby to assist with evacuations. AP News reported, "at the U.S. Navy’s submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, personnel on Friday were securing submarine moorings, installing flood gates, and doubling up lines on small boats." It appears as if the lessons have been learned from 1991, so hopefully, the damage should be less severe. 

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