Henri was upgraded Saturday morning to a hurricane, and while Henri is forecast to make landfall as either a low end Cat. 1 hurricane or a strong Tropical Storm, impacts will be significant along the New England coast. While Henri’s forecast statistics may not wow, there are aspects of Henri that are somewhat unusual for Southern New England, and may lead to a more impactful storm.
Henri won’t be undergoing extratropical transition for quite some time after landfall, and many landfalling systems on the New England coast are transitioning into a more hybrid storm like Superstorm Sandy. Those storms are often much larger, but are moving quite quickly. Henri will instead have enough warm water to remain a tropical system, meaning its impacts will be concentrated over a somewhat smaller area, but will be more intense in some spots than if the system was transitioning to extratropical. In addition, Henri’s motion will be slowed as an upper level ridge to the east keeps the storm from swinging away from the coastline. So New England will take a direct blow from a landfalling tropical cyclone; something that isn’t all that common for the region. Henri could produce up to 5 feet of surge and knock out power for tens of thousands of people Sunday and Monday, as well as lead to significant inland flooding in a part of the country less adept to extreme rainfall.