The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season is already shaping up to be a busy one. As of August 20, we’ve seen a total of 8 named storms and more are invariably on the horizon.
But, out of all the storms that we’ve seen so far in 2021, Tropical Storm Henri is shaping up to be one of the more unique cyclones in the North Atlantic basin.
What makes Henri unique isn’t its size, strength, or potential for destruction. Rather, Henri is poised to be the first tropical cyclone to make direct landfall on Long Island and New England in 30 years.
While plenty of tropical cyclones have impacted the northern Atlantic coast of the US in recent years, none have made their first landfall in the region since Hurricane Bob in 1991.
For the record, Bob was a burly Category 3 storm with wind speeds of upwards of 100 knots and a lowest recorded pressure of 950 hPA. Bob made landfall in Rhode Island (twice, actually), and caused approximately $1.5 billion in damage (1991 USD) before curving into the northern North Atlantic and bringing some stormy weather to Portugal.
That’s enough about Bob, though: Let’s get back to Henri.
As of 2 PM EDT on August 20, the National Hurricane Center predicts that Henri will make landfall on Long Island around 8 PM EDT on Sunday, August 22.
Now, the National Hurricane Center predicts that Henri will strengthen to a Hurricane by early Saturday morning, though it remains to be seen how strong the storm will actually be as it makes its way through colder waters. The storm itself is moving relatively slowly (6 mph as of August 20), so its sluggish pace could be its undoing as the storm churns up colder waters that limit and eventually inhibit organized convection.
At the same time, the storm’s slow pace could wreak havoc on the low-lying areas of Long Island and Cape Cod, which Henri is predicted to make landfall at sometime Sunday evening as a hurricane.
Plus, even though Henri is slated to move into colder waters in the coming day, there does seem to be a decent amount of moisture within Henri’s path, limiting the potential for dry air entrainment in the near future.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how much of a punch Henri will really pack for Long Island and the southern New England coast. Stay tuned!