Henri Could Impact New Jersey

Written on 08/19/2021
Jonathan Carr

Discussion: Henri is currently a tropical storm near 30N 70W (between Bermuda and Florida – at Jacksonville, FL latitude). Henri is expected to turn to the N and follow the developing upper level ridge weakness in SE Canada on Friday. It’s likely he will be upgraded to hurricane status by Friday night.

Henri should pass about 300-400 miles offshore of OBX latitude (Saturday morning) as it follows the ridge sliding from W to E in SE Canada. At that point, the Upper-Level Low (ULL) will be developing over ~W PA which presents a double-edged sword.

If there is less ULL interaction with Henri, then the ULL SW steering currents will likely keep Henri far out to sea at NJ latitude (Saturday PM into Sunday AM) and take a track towards the tip of Cape Cod. If there is more interaction between Henri and the ULL, then a phase could tug Henri towards Long Island rather than Cape Cod. This could bring outer bands of rain and N/NW winds to NJ from Henri’s SW side of circulation. The former scenario would mean a surfer’s paradise and likely an uneventful day in NJ. The latter could mean some moderate-to-heavy rain and wind but reduced coastal flooding potential. In fact, you might see a blowout low tide from the NW winds. Something between could mean just a nuisance misty day with heavy choppy surf.

With that said I will be paying special attention to the upper-level dynamics over W PA and SE Canada this Friday-Sunday. Those are the main factors that will determine if Henri is going to hook inland (towards Long Island) or keep going towards Cape Cod. In either case, there is no model guidance nor expectation for NJ to see a Henri landfall or any of the more destructive eye wall wind areas. The ULL would have to phase extremely early. If that happens, I’ll let you know as soon as possible. But as of now the expected range of possibilities are a close graze with secondary impacts (rain, NW wind, etc.) or a slight miss out to sea.  

In English: It looks like Henri could either just graze NJ with manageable rain and wind (from SW outer bands) or miss just far enough out to sea for a nicer day in NJ. That’s my current cone of uncertainty. There’s no reason to expect a primary hurricane hit in NJ (landfall). My estimated time window for when any fringe impacts could be felt in NJ is between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Otherwise, if Henri stays just far enough out to sea, we’ll be feeling just a calmer day in NJ with of course, a surfer’s paradise.

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