Henri's landfall won't be its first brush with US mainland
Henri is on a path that will send it crashing ashore as a hurricane on Long Island, followed by southern New England, but a landfall wouldn’t be the first time that the system was over American soil.
All tropical systems start as non-tropical weather systems that stall over warm waters and take on tropical characteristics or from tropical waves. Commonly in the Atlantic hurricane basin, these tropical waves originate from clusters of thunderstorms that move off the western coast of Africa.
"In most cases, these disturbances have their origins from upper-level disturbances rotating around the outer periphery of the Indian Monsoon high-pressure area, which is typically located just northwest of the Indian sub-continent," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
However, this is not always the case. And with Henri, the initial feature started closer to home.
Going back in time, the entity that eventually became Henri can be traced all the way back to a complex of thunderstorms that ignited over the central United States nearly two weeks ago.
A cluster of thunderstorms initially developed over northeastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska late on Monday, Aug. 9, and tracked eastward into Tuesday, Aug. 10, when it moved over Kansas City that morning and St. Louis.
This was not a particularly strong complex of thunderstorms, but it managed to keep its act together as it traveled across the Plains and mid-Mississippi River Valley.
The cluster of thunderstorms that would eventually become Henri seen over Nebraska and Kansas before sunrise on Aug. 10, 2021. (NOAA Satellites)
By Wednesday, Aug. 11, the system of thunderstorms moved over the mid-Atlantic before reaching the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
After it reached the open waters of the Atlantic, it churned off the East Coast for days before eventually organizing into Tropical Depression Eight on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 11 p.m. EDT near Bermuda.
A tropical system like Henri that has roots in North America is sometimes called a "home brew" as it takes shape close to the United States.
Home-grown tropical storms are most common during the first part of the hurricane season due to the way the jet stream interacts with the warm waters near the coast of the United States.
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