Tropical Storm Henri expected to soon become hurricane just off North Carolina coast

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Rain and possibly severe storms are in central North Carolina on Friday, but they’re not part of one of the several systems being watched by the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Henri, Tropical Storm Grace, the remnants of Fred and a brand new tropical wave are all top of mind for meteorologists.

Henri is the closest one to North Carolina. The system is located 370 miles off the coast and moving north at 9 miles per hour. It has maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and will likely become a hurricane Saturday.

The good news for us: Henri will stay out to sea. The system will continue to cause high rip currents on the coast, but its rain and wind will remain offshore until Sunday or Monday when it arrives in the Northeastern United States.

It’s been 30 years since a hurricane last made a direct hit on New England. Category 2 Hurricane Bob hit there on Aug. 19, 1991.

At least 17 people were killed in the storm, the costliest in New England with more than $1.5 billion in property damage.


Hurricane Grace – temporarily knocked back to tropical storm force – headed Friday for a second landfall in Mexico, this time taking aim at the mainland’s Gulf coast after crashing through the country’s main tourist strip.

The storm lost punch as it zipped across the Yucatan Peninsula, but it emerged late Thursday over the relatively warm Gulf of Mexico and was gaining energy.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Grace’s winds were back up to 70 mph (110 kph) early Friday and were expected to soon regain hurricane force. It was centered about 265 miles (425 kilometers) east of Tuxpan and was heading west at 16 mph (26 kph).

The forecast track would take it toward a coastal region of small fishing towns and beach resorts between Tuxpan and Veracruz, likely Friday night or early Saturday, then over a mountain range toward the heart of the country and the greater Mexico City region.

Forecasters said it could drop 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain, with more in a few isolated areas – bringing the threat of flash floods, mudslide and urban flooding.

The hurricane hit early Thursday near Tulum, a resort town famed for its Mayan ruins. Some families passed harrowing hours sheltering from cracking trees and flying debris.

As the storm approached, Carlos González grabbed his 1 1/2-year-old son and ran from his home with his wife to a school-turned-shelter, using his cellphone light to find his way through darkened streets.

“The only thing I have left is what I’m wearing,” the 35-year-old construction worker said. “I knew my house wasn’t going to stand it because it’s made of cardboard. When the wind came I was really scared and decided to leave.”

There were no reports of deaths, but many streets were blocked by fallen limbs and trees that pulled down power lines, leaving thousands in the dark Thursday.


Authorities in North Carolina have found two people dead and about 20 remain missing in Haywood County in floods caused by Tropical Storm Fred.

Now as a post-tropical cyclone, Fred is drenching New York and New England.

More than 200 people searched flooded areas in western North Carolina along the Pigeon River. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper joined Haywood County officials Thursday afternoon to survey the flood damage.

“Storms are more ferocious than they were before. Climate change has contributed to that,” Cooper said while vowing to commit resources to help the area rebuild.

Farther north, about 10 families evacuated their homes in the rural town of Western in central New York as waters rose.

New tropical wave

The newest tropical development is located several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.

Right now it is only a broad area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms, but forecasters said it does have a chance to develop into something more in the coming days.

Over the next five days, there’s a 20 percent chance the storm becomes a tropical depression.

The system looks like it will head northwest into the open Atlantic. It’s way too early to tell what may come of this system, but the ABC11 First Alert Weather Team will keep you updated to any developments.

Copyright © 2021 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.