Hurricane Henri: Landfall, possible impact and all you need to know about season's 8th storm

Tropical Storm Henri is expected to progress to a Category One Hurricane on Aug 21 before hitting the northeastern US coast and Canada by Aug 24

                            Hurricane Henri: Landfall, possible impact and all you need to know about season's 8th storm
Representational picture (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

Tropical Storm Henri, the most recent of a trio of storms to form in the Atlantic Ocean, is expected to strengthen into a hurricane with wind speeds of 85mph before it hits New England by Friday, August 20, and hits the Northeast coast by Sunday, August 22, according to meteorologists.

MEAWW recently reported that the National Weather Service and Hurricane Centre have asked Floridians to prepare for heavy storms in the coming weeks, with the Tropical Depression Fred expected to strengthen into a full-fledged storm. The hurricane season of 2021 is shaping up to be one of the worst in US history, with several storms already wreaking havoc. We reported on massive flooding in Utah on August 1, which turned Salt Lake City into a "river." Tropical Storm Claudette, which caused flash flood warnings in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, was also covered in June.


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As climate change worsens, conditions are only expected to get worse, as a study found that the East Coast may see more flooding in the years to come. Here's all that you need to know about 'Hurricane' Henri.




Before it was dubbed 'Invest 96L', the National Hurricane Center (NHC) began monitoring a small, well-defined low-pressure system 200 miles north-northeast of Bermuda at 00:00 UTC on August 15. When geostationary satellite data showed the convection was organised enough to be considered a tropical cyclone at 03:00 UTC on August 16, the system intensified into a tropical depression 18 hours later at 21:00 UTC. The system was upgraded to a tropical storm and received the name Henri, according to the NHC website.

The ACE index for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is 19.8 units, according to Colorado State University's calculations based on data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) (as of 21:00 UTC August 18). After forming near Bermuda on Monday, Henri has been designated as the season's eighth storm, the Daily Mail reported. Forecasts show the storm swirling south of Bermuda and heading north of North Carolina for several hundred miles.




Tropical Storm Henri is expected to make landfall in the Northeast, according to some forecast computer models. However, not all models agree, and Tropical Storm Henri's official forecast track remains offshore, CNN reported on Thursday, August 19. But even if Henri doesn't make landfall, the cone of uncertainty includes parts of New England, where flooding and tropical-storm-force winds could hit by the weekend. Model disagreement is increasing the track's uncertainty, which is influenced by the models' differing interpretations of upper-level weather patterns.

"One complicating factor is that several of the models show a ridge building over the northwestern Atlantic and Atlantic Canada, which could cause the storm to stay on a more northward track closer to New England than currently forecast," said the NHC.



Of tracking Henri, Dennis Feltgen, public affairs officer at the NHC said: "Swells from the storm could reach much of the east coast of the US and Atlantic Canada by the end of the week and continue through the weekend. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip currents." 

Parts of Massachusetts are included in the NHC forecast cone for Henri. Recent model guidance indicates that the storm will move to the left (west), affecting more of New England. "There is a lot of uncertainty, more than usual, in the track forecast of Henri this weekend and early next week. As it stands now, there is some risk of direct impacts from Henri in portions of the northeastern US and Atlantic Canada during that time frame," said Feltgen.



Potential impact

As of 11 pm AST August 18 (03:00 UTC August 19), Tropical Storm Henri is located within 30 nautical miles of 29.8°N 68.5°W, about 280 mi (450 km) southwest of Bermuda and about 790 mi (1,270 km) south of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Maximum sustained winds are 60 knots (70 mph; 110 km/h), with gusts up to 75 knots (85 mph; 140 km/h).

Henri will have storm-force effects regardless of whether it makes landfall in the United States. Tides in the area are expected to be high this weekend, posing a risk of storm surge flooding and coastal erosion. By the end of the week, swells will be increasing along the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts, potentially resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents. This weekend, high surf and rip currents will spread northward, Weather reported.

"While we can't rule out a more direct impact, we are more confident in high surf along ocean beaches and rough seas offshore," NWS Boston said.  Later this week, sea levels are expected to rise along Bermuda's coast and the United States' mid-Atlantic coast, raising fears of storm surges and flooding. Flight missions, as well as balloon soundings, are being organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to gather data and determine the storm's steering pattern, according to the NHC, the Daily Mail reported.

Nearly ten years after Hurricane Sandy hit the US East Coast in late October 2012, the US East Coast may be bracing for Henri.

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