Computer models have become increasingly bullish on the potential of a close shave or direct hit to New England late Sunday into Monday. Mild waters off the coast could maintain Henri as a strong tropical storm or marginal hurricane, which could make it the first hurricane to make landfall in New England in more than three decades.
The National Hurricane Center wrote early Thursday that storm surge, wind and rain impacts in the northeastern U.S. are “a distinct possibility” due to the storm.
Henri was a 70 mph tropical storm as of 11 a.m. Eastern time Thursday, but is primed to strengthen, and could become a hurricane over the next day or so.
It comes as the remnants of Fred continue to work through the northern Appalachians, while Grace, a borderline Category 1 hurricane, made landfall in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico south of Cancún.
If it seems like Henri suddenly entered the forecast equation late Wednesday, you’re not imagining things. Before that time, it was expected with relatively high confidence that Henri would drift out to sea. Then, by midmorning Wednesday, computer models began portraying a potential scenario that would bring Henri closer to the coast — or even directly into Long Island, Rhode Island or Cape Cod.