Will Hurricane Henri be worse than Sandy? Experts predict landfall in Long Island, Connecticut

Hurricane Henri could be the first storm to hit the New York area in nine years, after Sandy


                            Will Hurricane Henri be worse than Sandy? Experts predict landfall in Long Island, Connecticut
Surfers flock to the beach as wave heights elevate in advance of Hurricane Henri on August 21, 2021, in Lido Beach, New York (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Hurricane Henri had been intensifying off the Atlantic Coast on Saturday, August 22, and continuing its march toward the Northeast and experts are saying that it could well be the first storm to hit the New York area in nine years, following Hurricane Sandy's devastation.

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MEAWW earlier reported that the National Weather Service and the Hurricane Center have warned Floridians to expect significant storms in the coming weeks, with Tropical Depression Fred expected to build into a full-fledged storm. With multiple storms already causing damage, the hurricane season of 2021 is shaping up to be one of the worst in US history. On August 1, we reported on catastrophic floods in Utah that 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. Now, experts say Hurricane Henri has some alarming similarities to Superstorm Sandy, which is enough to alarm since the NGC upgraded Henri from a tropical storm to a hurricane at 11 am on Saturday. However, experts agree that there are some significant variations between the two storms, including strength, storm surge, and path, which potentially make Henri different.

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'Low-end category 1 hurricane'

“This is not gonna be Sandy,” New Jersey’s state climatologist at Rutgers University David Robinson, said to NJ.com on Saturday morning. “It’s that simple. Unless there’s a major change. That’s always possible. But it would take a major change in the anticipated intensity of the storm and path of the storm.” Henri is in a "favorable position" to intensify in the following hours, according to Robinson, but by the time it approaches land, it will be a "low-end category 1 hurricane or a very strong tropical storm." As it moves closer to Long Island, he says, it will reach cooler seas, which will “eliminate any further intensification.”

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Henri is traveling up the coast of the United States in a similar fashion. Sandy, on the other hand, took a sharp left and made landfall in New Jersey, whereas Henri's forecast path takes it through Long Island and then north to New England, the New York Post reported.

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'Henri is going to be like half a Sandy'

Rain and wind are anticipated to batter New Jersey from Saturday night into Sunday, although the worst of the storm is unlikely to hit. Henri is predicted to make landfall in either Long Island or southeastern Connecticut on Sunday afternoon, before moving north towards Rhode Island and Massachusetts, according to forecasters.

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“Henri is going to be like half a Sandy,” said Arum Terchunian, a coastal geologist in Westhampton Beach, where the storm is expected to make landfall between 11 am and 2 pm on Sunday, August 22. “We’re going to see lower winds and storm surges, between three to five feet.” And, despite the fact that both coincided with a nontropical storm system over the Appalachians, Henri's effect will not result in a "perfect storm."

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“Those two were feeding off of each other,” Accuweather senior meteorologist Randy Adkins explained to the Post. “It’s going to be a far cry from Sandy, where you saw amounts that were easily double if not triple that,” Adkins added. 

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When Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, it was a category 1 hurricane. It was responsible for 49 deaths in New York and 10 in New Jersey, making it the deadliest storm to hit the East Coast since 1972. In the worst-case situation, Henri may become a category 2 hurricane, with gusts of up to 100 mph, according to Robinson. He added, “But not in New Jersey.” The Garden State, according to Robinson, will be on the storm's western flank, with lesser winds. Gusts of 30 to 50 mph are expected in certain areas, according to forecasters.

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'Long Island and Connecticut’s storm'

Trent Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Mount Holly office, agreed that comparing Henri to Sandy is "not really a fair comparison," given that Sandy had a different route and more strength. The only thing they have in common is that both have taken a leftward “turn in the track,” according to Davis. “But given this storm is to make landfall to the east, it looks like heavy rain is going to be more the factor in play, as well as blustery winds,” he added.

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According to Adkins, much of central and north Jersey will receive 1-2 inches of rain, with 2-4 inches in some areas of North Jersey. Much more is anticipated to hit Long Island, Connecticut, and other regions of the Northeast. Rain will be "the concern for New Jersey," agreed Robinson, though it won't be enough to raise the Passaic or Raritan rivers. “There may be local flash flooding, but North Jersey can handle 2-3 inches of rain this time of year,” Robinson said. “This will probably be Long Island and Connecticut’s storm,” Robinson said.

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