Henri set to impact the Northeast coast as a hurricane, but will the storm affect us?

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In the wake of Tropical Storm Fred, Tropical Storm Henri (pronounced [ahn-REE]) is now the talk of the town. Only this time, it looks increasingly imminent that this storm will make landfall over New England as a hurricane. Here’s the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center:

Image from the NHC ‘s Friday 5 P.M. Update

Friday Evening Update: Hurricane Watches and Warnings have been issued for places like Long Island, Southeast Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island for dangerous storm surge, heavy rain and damaging winds to affect those areas within the next 24-48 hours. Dangerous rip currents and high waves will be a concern as well .

If you have family or loved ones who reside in any of these areas, please go to the National Hurricane Center as well as your local broadcast office for all the specifics regarding watches, warnings, and impacts for this storm as they are updated.

Thursday Evening Update: Henri is a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 55 knots (65 mph), a minimum central pressure of 997 millibars, and is moving west at 9 knots (10 mph). The most recent trends have weakened the storm ever so slightly most likely due to some wind shear over the Atlantic, but the storm is still expected to restrengthen into a hurricane by early Saturday morning. The current trends also have been putting the storm’s center slightly more westward, bringing the tropical system closer to the Northeast coast of the U.S.

The forecast cone above is known as the “cone of uncertainty.” It’s a cone put in place to highlight where the center of the storm could end up. This means that the effects of the storm system can and will be felt outside of the highlighted cone. There’s still plenty of time for the forecast cone to shift between now and over the weekend, but it’s important to recognize the potential threat for strong tropical force winds and storm surge for coastal areas like Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine at this time. Keep an eye out for any tropical storm or even hurricane watches that could be issued over the next 24-36 hours.

National Hurricane Center Trends

Here’s a slideshow of the past 5 forecasts courtesy of the National Hurricane Center ending with the most recent update from 5 P.M. Thursday.

Will the storm affect us in Western New York?

The likelihood of this storm bringing any significant impacts to our region and even upstate New York alone is very low. At the most, I think we could see an increase in cloud cover and perhaps some of the outer bands bring some extra rain and showers to the region.

The blue lines you see in the clip above represent a multitude of forecast models, all of which that have a slightly different path in mind for the storm system. This is why we have the cone of uncertainty when forecasting tropical systems like this, because there’s still room for error and changes in the path as time goes on. Some models keep the storm farther away from the coast, while others have the center carving a path directly over land.

The question that remains is how Henri will interact with a closed upper level low that will be lingering over the mid-Atlantic through the weekend. Overall, the center of this storm looks to say well off to our east, but it does look likely that we’ll see remnant moisture get funneled in from the north and east. This will help fuel tropical-like humidity and pop up thunderstorms late Sunday and into Monday. These storms could bring some heavy downpours with them, and even some gusty winds. Let me clear in saying that we will NOT be dealing with tropical force winds as the storm makes its approach, but it will definitely be something neat to see on nearby satellite and radar.

Stay tuned for more updates as this storm gets closer and the fine tuned details become more clear.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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