The latest data and guidance regarding Henri is not good news at all.

It is looking quite likely now that Henri will probably make landfall as a hurricane either on the Rhode Island coast or in southeastern Mass on Sunday afternoon and then head north-northwest across Southern New England later Sunday afternoon to Monday morning.

Since it is so late & I want to get to bed because I'll be awake again in just a couple of hours, I'll keep the forecast impacts short. A much, much longer writeup will be posted later this morning.

WIND: Hurricane force winds are possible along coastal Rhode Island into the Cape and Southeastern Mass during Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening. Tropical storm force winds with gusts of up to 50 to 65 mph are expected as far north as the Mass Pike in Central Mass and across all of Eastern Mass during Sunday afternoon and Sunday night.

RAIN: The highest rainfall totals are expected on the western side of the storm track and this potentially means much of Central and Western Mass may see many, many inches of rainfall during Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and into Monday. At this point, I'm thinking upwards of 5 to 10 inches of rainfall, however, higher totals are certainly possible as Henri is expected to be a slow moving storm when it crosses Southern New England. This means that flash flooding is extremely likely across all of Western and Central Mass.

STORM SURGE & COASTAL FLOODING: The onshore wind flow is likely to lead to moderate to even severe coastal flooding across eastern Mass, the Cape and along the south coast of Rhode Island and Mass.

TORNADO THREAT: There is the possibility for a few spin up tornadoes as Henri makes landfall on Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening, especially across Central and Eastern Mass.

If you are reading this and live along the coast of Southern New England - Take today (Friday) to prepare for a hurricane landfall, which is expected on Sunday afternoon. If you live in an evacuation zone and are asked to evacuate, please do so.

Given the expected hurricane force winds along the Rhode Island coast, the Cape and across Southeast Mass, expect power outages and downed trees.

Even inland, any gusty winds on Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening will likely bring down trees and lead to power outages as the ground is extremely saturated and tree roots aren't as firmly in the ground as they would be if the ground was dry.

I continue to closely watch Henri and I promise that I'll be with you every step of the way to guide you through this storm.

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After an extremely busy morning with thunderstorms, flash flooding and even tornado damage in northeastern Connecticut, this afternoon is expected to feature a mixture of sunshine and clouds and there may be a few pop up thunderstorms. Temperatures this afternoon will be in the middle 80s. Friday & Saturday both look more cloudy than anything, but there may be some peeks of sunshine at times. High temperatures both days will be around 85 Degrees and it’ll be oppressively humid. Now, For The Latest On Tropical Storm Henri & The Potential Threat It Poses To Southern New England: Henri is a 70 mph tropical storm as of midday today, however, it is expected to find itself in a very favorable environment to strengthen & possibly strengthen significantly starting as soon as late Friday and continue right through Saturday and Saturday night. The only factor that could lead to Henri weakening before making it to New England is much cooler water temperatures just south of New England, as compared to the tropics. This means that Henri is very likely to become a hurricane sometime on Friday and may peak at about a 100 to 110 mph hurricane on Saturday. Weakening is likely before Henri affects Southern New England on Sunday & it’s possible that Henri may be about a 75-80 mph hurricane by the time it reaches the Cape and the South Coast of New England on Sunday. Now, for the track forecast, which is a really, really tough call. Henri is currently tracking just south of due west and the storm is expected to turn more to the north starting Friday as an upper level trough of low pressure strengthens over the Ohio Valley. At the same time this is occurring, it is expected that an upper level high pressure ridge may build to the north of New England. These two weather features, in addition to a high pressure ridge east of Bermuda, may block Henri from turning abruptly out into the open Atlantic and instead guide it northward towards Southern New England. The big question is how much could the trough of low pressure to the west of Henri tug on it and pull it into the coast. The trend in the guidance are not looking good for Southern New England as there is growing consensus that Henri may make landfall somewhere along the south coast of New England between southeastern Connecticut and the Cape on Sunday. At this point, I think that the chances for a landfall of a hurricane on Sunday is at 60 percent. I will fully admit that I am suffering from a bit of disbelief with the idea and potential forecast of a hurricane landfall in Southern New England in just 72 hours. As we all know, Southern New England hasn’t had a full-blown hurricane landfall in 30 years (today is the 30 year anniversary of Hurricane Bob) and we’ve had a lot of close calls since then. In fact, this 30 year span of time is one of the longest in New England history of not having any hurricane landfalls. And I can tell you that I’d be extremely thrilled to see this storm just slide out into the open Atlantic and not affect us. Of course, I don’t forecast based on what I wish would happen. If I did that, it’d be sunny, 80 Degrees with low humidity every day of the year. Depending on the exact track and strength of Henri at landfall, areas along the Southern New England coast, especially along the coastline of Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts and the Cape could be especially hard hit. This includes the potential for extremely high surf, a pretty significant storm surge and tropical storm force to even hurricane force winds on Sunday. Making things even worse is the fact that Henri may be a slow moving tropical system by the time it reaches Southern New England. This means that the waves will really build up over several tide cycles due to the onshore wind fetch. This means that this could be a big time coastal flood threat along the Southern New England coast. Even worse, the full moon is on Sunday and thus tides will already be above normal. So, this above normal tide will just exacerbate the coastal flood threat. For Western & Central Mass: It still appears that heavy rainfall and flash flooding may be the main threat from Henri on Sunday. Several inches of rainfall is possible. As for winds, wind gusts of maybe 25 to 40 mph are possible across Western Mass with wind gusts of 45 to 60 mph possible across Central Mass, especially south of I-290 and east of I-395. If You Are Reading This & Live Along The Coast Of Southern New England, especially on the Cape & The Islands: I strongly urge you to start preparing now for a possible landfall of a hurricane in just 72 hours from now. A good reference for preparing for a hurricane is I continue to watch Henri extremely closely and will continue to have frequent updates for you.

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Tropical Storm Henri seems to be gradually organizing and strengthening this afternoon and it’s likely to become a hurricane very soon. This storm needs to be watched EXTREMELY closely as it could either make a very close brush by or make a direct landfall in Southern New England on Sunday. Right now, Henri is currently tracking nearly due west and this westward track is likely to continue for the next couple of days. By Friday and certainly this weekend, the weather pattern around Henri is going to become extremely complex as that high pressure ridge moves a little to the east and an upper level trough of low pressure moves into the Ohio Valley. Two big questions still need to be answered with this upper level pattern. One is whether the trough of low pressure takes on a negatively tilted look, which would turn the upper level winds over New England into a southeast to northwest direction. Question number two is whether a blocking high pressure system builds over Atlantic Canada. The reason why these questions are so important is because if this does occur, it would lead to Henri moving nearly due north and even in a northwest direction causing it to make landfall in Southern New England. If that blocking high pressure system does not develop or if the upper level trough isn’t as strong as currently expected by some of the models, then Henri would likely escape and pass well south and east of New England. The current location of Henri and its potential track to the north and even possibly northwest is completely outside of climatology and would be a very unique track. On one hand, this makes me extremely skeptical that Henri will make it all the way into Southern New England like what some of the weather forecast guidance shows. Usually, tropical storm and hurricane hits in New England originate either near the Bahamas or are the long track Cape Verde storms & not a storm that originated near Bermuda. On the other hand, however, the upper air pattern signal for a very close brush or a direct impact from Henri in Southern New England looks legit to me. Saying that, remember that this is still 4 to 5 days away from potentially occurring and a lot can change in that time. There are things that I’ll be watching for – First is whether the south and west trend in the guidance continues as Henri moves into a more favorable environment. The stronger Henri gets, the more westward it’ll track before it turns back to the north. Second thing that I’m watching is whether the upper level trough of low pressure over the Ohio Valley remains oriented in a way (negative tilt) that allows it to capture Henri rather than kick it out into the open Atlantic. The third thing to watch is whether the blocking high pressure system over Atlantic Canada continues to be forecast. If all 3 things continue to show up, then the threat to all of Southern New England is likely to increase. Fortunately, we are going to see more data ingested into the model guidance with Henri. Reconnaissance flights have been scheduled to fly around Henri and special weather balloon soundings have been scheduled. I am hoping that this additional data will help to nail down a forecast track of Henri. Here are my recommendations for now – If you are reading this and live along the coast of Southern New England, especially the Cape/Islands or know of someone that lives along the Southern New England coast, it’s time to pull out those hurricane plans and review them. If you don’t have one, it may be a good idea to come up with one, just in case. For Western and Central Mass, the main threat should be extremely heavy rainfall if Henri does make landfall. This could lead to some big time flash flood problems. The wind threat looks low for now, however, there is that possibility for 40-60 mph wind gusts on Sunday, depending on the exact track of Henri. This, in turn, could lead to some power outage problems. One other bit of information – The full moon is on Sunday, just when Henri would be either making landfall in Southern New England or making its closest pass to Southern New England. This means that the tides will be above normal and thus the flood threat from very high surf and any storm surge would be exacerbated. I continue to watch Henri extremely closely and will continue to have frequent updates for you over the next few days.

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