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Henri Continues To Pose A Hurricane Threat To Southern New England On Sunday

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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