Stamford Advocate

Tropical Storm Henri could hit state this weekend

- By Tara O’Neill Staff writer Liz Hardaway contribute­d to this report.

Tropical Storm Henri is moving through Atlantic Ocean Thursday, and prediction­s show it could hit Connecticu­t, but it’s still too early to know exactly where the storm will hit, forecaster­s said.

The storm was moving west Thursday night and is expected to turn toward the northwest Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gary Lessor, chief meteorolog­ist at Western Connecticu­t State University, expects Henri to hit southeaste­rn New England and the Cape Cod area around Sunday based on Thursday’s forecast models.

And Connecticu­t is still in the “cone of change,” Lessor said.

“Here in Connecticu­t, the effects would be minimal,” he said. If the current forecast stays the same, the state would “escape any real impact from the storm,” aside from winds.

It would “just be probably a cloudy day,” along with some wind, Lessor said.

If the storm shifts, Lessor said: “It wouldn’t be good.”

Tropical storm-force winds are expected to reach southern New England by around 8 p.m. Saturday at the earliest, moving north through the region into Sunday morning, according to a model from the National Hurricane Center.

Connecticu­t is forecast to experience at most 50 mph winds, according to the National Hurricane Center Thursday evening.

“We’ve just got to be patient and hope tomorrow it hasn’t shifted to Connecticu­t,” Lessor said.

The National Hurricane Center said the tropical storm is expected to escalate to a hurricane Friday night. The storm’s wind speed did weaken, going from 70 mph Wednesday to 65 mph Thursday.

NOAA said swells from the tropical storm will reach much of the East Coast by the end of the week and into the weekend, causing potentiall­y life-threatenin­g surf and rip currents.

On Thursday, Eversource, the state’s largest electric utility, said it was following the progress of the storm and starting preparatio­ns should it impact Connecticu­t.

“We have been closely watching multiple storm forecasts for several days, and we’re actively engaged in our emergency response preparedne­ss efforts so that, if necessary, we’re ready to respond and quickly restore power for our customers,” said Eversource President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom in a statement. “There’s still some uncertaint­y across multiple models that we follow, and we’re preparing based on the current forecast.”

Hallstrom added: “One of the biggest challenges for storms like Henri is that changes in the storm track can significan­tly alter potential impacts. We will continue to adjust our response plans to shift crews and other resources accordingl­y as the storm approaches New England, and our dedicated employees are ready to work around the clock to serve our customers.”

Connecticu­t residents need a break from the rain. Remnants of Post-Tropical Cyclone Fred brought local flash flooding to Connecticu­t Thursday morning. The storm also caused over 2,000 residents to lose power.

The fast-moving storm, which passed through the state in several hours, dropped as much as five inches of rain in some areas, closing streets in parts of Connecticu­t.

The last tropical storm to hit Connecticu­t was Tropical Storm Elsa in July. Heavy rains from that storm lead to days of flooding in some areas, especially southern Connecticu­t and cut power to thousands of residents.

Tropical Storm Henri comes about a year after Tropical Storm Isaias swept through Connecticu­t with high winds that downed thousands of trees and cut power to hundreds of thousands of residents.

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