Tracking Henri: Majority of impacts well away from the Midstate

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A lot of rain and storm surge for Long Island and southern New England this weekend...

The last two years have provided plenty of tropical activity to follow. Unfortunately, these systems have also had impacts on the United States including Fred, which just left the Northeast yesterday. Fred brought plenty of heavy rain with reports of 5-7″ for portions of the Midstate and even a few brief tornadoes in Central PA.

Hurricane Grace is a non-factor in our local forecast after various early guidance did bring some of that moisture to the southern US. Now landfall for Grace will be over the next 12 hours in eastern Mexico.

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Tropical Storm Henri is turning out to be perhaps the most impactful of these three storms. For a while, it was sitting and slowly meandering about the western Atlantic Ocean with no threat to land. However, a weakness in the Bermuda high-pressure system has allowed a trough of low pressure to pick up Henri, and now the track will turn northward. The problem with the latest track is that it steers Henri directly toward Long Island and southern New England.

The current forecast track (as of Friday afternoon) from the National Hurricane Center has continued the trend of pushing Henri to the west. Thursday’s model guidance had a landfall farther to the north and east. Henri will not have a lot of forward momentum according to this forecast, which could keep the storm over cooler waters longer.

The timing over the colder waters and its ultimate influence on the storm remains to be seen, however for now forecast intensity shows Henri becoming a hurricane and then weakening to a tropical storm before landfall. Henri will be moving over warm waters with very little shear over the next 24 hours, so it is expected to strengthen to a hurricane before encountering the cooler, northern waters. A weaker Henri at landfall though will mean less impact from wind. Storm surge and heavy rain should be the highest impacts at this time for New England starting late Saturday night into Sunday. A swath of heavy rain up to 2-4 inches or more is currently forecast by the Weather Prediction Center, which specializes in rainfall forecasting.

Locally in the Midstate, we do not expect much impact from Henri. For Saturday afternoon through Saturday night, we do expect areas of clouds and scattered downpours/thunderstorms arriving from the east. This is from the plume of moisture interacting with Henri. The heaviest downpours could result in a quick half-inch to an inch of rain, but these pockets of rain should be isolated. For the latest PrecisionCast forecasts for our area, be sure to check out: https://www.abc27.com/weather/future-radar/. If the track of Henri continues to trend farther west, it is also possible that clouds and lingering showers could be slow to clear for Sunday. This may also result in a cooler forecast for Sunday, but don’t worry the humidity will not be in a hurry to leave!

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