Henri strengthens into a hurricane as it aims for the East Coast, heavy rain and flooding forecast

The NOAA forecast shows the path of Hurricane Henri from August 22 to August 22, 2021. National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Henri strengthened to a hurricane Saturday. It is expected that it will bring dangerous storm surge, hurricane conditions, and flooding rains.

The storm is located approximately 500 miles away from Montauk Point on Long Island.

The US Northeast Region is under hurricane and storm surge watch, with heavy rains and flooding forecasted.

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As Tropical Storm Henri continues its northward creep through the Atlantic, it strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday.

According to its current path, the eye of Henri will slam New England Sunday as the first major hurricane to strike the region in over 30 years.

The National Hurricane Center has updated to say that the storm is less than 500 miles away from Montauk Point on Long Island. The Center warned that the storm will be affecting the Northeast Region of the US from Saturday night through Sunday. It is expected to cause flooding and hurricane conditions, as well as dangerous storm surges.

Henri is moving parallel with the US East Coast as he approaches southern New England, Long Island. According to the National Hurricane Centers, Henri will reach the coasts of Long Island (and southern New England) at hurricane strength.

This means sustained winds of at least 74 mph. Henri currently has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

Storm surge, flooding and erosion along the coasts of Connecticut and Rhode Island are some of Henri’s potential threats. High-force winds with damaging effects east of the point where the storm is likely to make landfall are also possible.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC), issued storm surge and hurricane watches for coastal areas between New Haven and Sagamore Beach in Massachusetts. These watches are also in place for Long Island's northern and southern shores. They include Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard as well as Block Island.

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High tides and heavy rainfall are to be expected.

As early as Saturday afternoon, tropical storm-force and hurricane force winds from Henri as well as ocean waves are likely to hit southern New England. These swells can cause dangerous surf conditions and rip tides up to Cape Cod.

Massachusetts Governor. Charles Baker, Massachusetts Governor, urged residents to be prepared for the storm and advised anyone who was planning to visit Cape Cod or Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, 22News reported Friday.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont declared a state emergency in Connecticut ahead of Henri’s landfall.

Henri's heavy rainfall could cause flooding in many areas, including flash flooding, stream and river flooding, and flooding of cities throughout southern New England starting Sunday. Expect to see rain in the eastern Long Island area and southern New England from Sunday through Monday.

Storm surge, rainfall and storm surge could cause flooding in otherwise dry areas.

The power companies have begun preparations for mass outages. Henri could knock out power to millions in the densely populated Northeast. Early estimates suggest that Henri could cause at least $1Billion in damage as it moves from New York to Maine.

Rare New England landfall

Superstorm Sandy's storm surge causes flooding in Hampton Bays, New York. October 29, 2012. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Henri will make landfall in New England as Category 1 hurricane. This will be its first appearance since Hurricane Bob in 1991.

"This is the first time that we have had a Hurricane Watch issued in our area in almost 10 years," tweeted the NWS New York on Friday.

Superstorm Sandy, which struck New England in October 2012, caused severe storm surge and flooding. Sandy was not a hurricane at the time it struck land.

NOAA predicts that there will be at least 13 additional named storms this season

On July 7, 2021, Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall in Taylor County (Florida) Mark Wallheiser/Getty

A tropical storm is defined as a cyclone-shaped storm that has winds greater than 39 mph. When winds exceed 39 mph, storms are named. A storm is a Category 1 hurricane if winds reach 74 mph.

Henri is this year's eighth named hurricane. Two of those storms Elsa (and Grace) became hurricanes. Hurricane season is from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity around September 10.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there will be seven to ten hurricanes and up to 21 named storms by 2021. This includes Category 3 to 5 major hurricanes, which are those with winds of at least 111 mph and Cat 3, 4, 5, or 5. So far, there have not been any major hurricanes in 2021.

The average number of storms per year has been increasing due to climate change. Therefore, NOAA recently updated its baseline numbers to forecast seasonal hurricanes. An average season is now defined by NOAA using data from 1991 to 2010. The average number of named storms was 14, with seven being hurricanes. The average season was previously 12 storms, six of which were hurricanes.

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