Hurricane Henri is tracking to the north over the warm Gulf Stream waters and is forecast to to head towards the US northeast states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, with landfall in New York or New England expected on Sunday.
Hurricane Henri’s forecast cone and future has all of those northeast US states in it, as well as suggesting potential impacts for New Hampshire and Maine as well.
There remains uncertainty in hurricane Henri’s future forecast strength and exact path though, which of course makes it a storm that insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) market interests will watch closely.
The turn to the north is certain, but how far west Henri will track and how close to the coastline it will be, how strong or intense it can become as a hurricane over the Gulf Stream, and how much it weakens as it moves over cooler waters before nearing land, are all very uncertain still.
Some forecasters and forecast models suggest a chance that Henri is still at hurricane strength when it nears Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts, potentially even barrelling into Long Island if it tracks a little more westward.
The further west the scenario, the more intense Henri is predicted to be, with some models suggesting deepening and a roughly 15 mb reduction in pressure by landfall.
A ridge is expected to steer Henri east eventually, but some meteorologists have pointed out that this could be quite weak and if Henri can intensify more than the current forecast anticipates, which there is a chance of, then steering forces could be far weaker.
Others stick with the current NHC forecast, that has Henri reaching category 1 or 2 hurricane strength over the Gulf Stream, but then weakening back to a tropical storm as it nears the coast around Long Island or New England. You can see the latest forecast cone from the NHC below.
Latest update: Henri is a Category 1 hurricane and further strengthening is expected today. The NHC has now raised hurricane and storm surge warnings for the US northeast and the latest forecast shows a potential hurricane strength landfall somewhere along the Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts coastline on Sunday.
Any further move west in the track could bring increasingly vulnerable barrier coastal regions under watch as well, with Connecticut and New York not far to the west of the forecast track as well.
Strengthening is now the key factor in defining how much of a threat Henri could become as a hurricane, but it’s likely we won’t know until Sunday morning just how impactful it could be for the region.
Storm surges of up to 5 feet are widely forecast at this time, while isolated rainfall totals of 10 inches are expected to cause flash flooding and dangerous surface water conditions.
The stronger and larger Henri becomes as a hurricane, the greater the chances the storm surge rises higher than the currently forecast 5 foot peaks. Currently hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles, with tropical storm force winds extending at least 115 miles from the center of Henri, while minimum central pressure is around 990 mb.
Right now hurricane Henri has roughly 75 mph sustained winds with higher gusts and is a growing storm.
As it moves over the Gulf Stream further intensification is expected, perhaps quite quickly, while meteorologists are also discussing the potential for Henri to grow in size and also pick up significant moisture, becoming a major rain threat to the US east coast.
While Henri will move quite quickly north and so come closest to the US northeast states on Sunday, it is expected to have time to become a threat to property along the way, even if it is only a tropical storm at landfall.
Some models suggest Henri will weaken, others forecast it maintaining hurricane strength right to land.
Forecasters are discussing the chances of a combined storm surge and torrential rains to cause some issues, while those believing a stronger scenario is likely, are warning of hurricane force winds for the coastal areas and inland, with deeper water related impacts.
The forecast is subject to significant change over the next 24 hours, depending on how strong Henri can become over the particularly warm Gulf Stream waters.
You can see GSF model enemble runs below from Tropical Tidbits:
Also from Tropical Tidbits, you can see modelled intensity guidance below:
Even at tropical storm strength, Henri could be a relatively significant threat to low-lying coastal areas, causing insured property losses as it nears the coast, or makes direct landfall.
But some of the more intense and further west landfall scenarios imply a more meaningful insurance and reinsurance market loss event.
Insurance, reinsurance and ILS market interests can keep track of this activity over on our 2021 Atlantic hurricane season page and we’ll update you should a more significant threat develop.
Meanwhile, tropical storm Grace made its second landfall in Mexico but with central pressure reported as too high to trouble Mexico’s catastrophe bond.