Astronauts and satellites watch Hurricane Henri from space as US Northeast braces for storm

Update for 4 pm ET: Tropical Storm Henri was downgraded from hurricane status around midday, but the storm continued to drop torrential rain on the U.S. northeast. The storm slowed over Rhode Island, with strong gusty winds and flooding ongoing across parts of the northeast, the National Hurricane Center reported

As parts of the U.S. northeast brace for Hurricane Henri to make landfall in New York today (Aug. 22), astronauts and satellites are tracking the historic storm from space. 

Henri, which reached category 1 hurricane status on Saturday, is forecast to make landfall on Long Island, New York by midday today, dropping torrents of rain on Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to the National Hurricane Center's morning update. Astronauts on the International Space Station spotted Henri from orbit on Saturday. 

"We just flew over the East Coast and saw Hurricane Henri," NASA astronaut Megan McArthur wrote on Twitter while sharing a photo of the storm from space. "Stay safe friends."

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Hurricane Henri churns in the Atlantic Ocean as it nears the U.S. northeast coast near Long Island, New York in this photo by NASA astronaut Megan McArthur taken on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, from the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA/Megan McArthur)

The Goes-East weather satellite tracked Henri's approach to the U.S. East Coast over the last few days, as well as Hurricane Grace, which made landfall in Mexico on the eastern Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday. One video from the satellite shows both storms churning across the Atlantic while Henri was still a tropical storm. 

NASA's Terra satellite spotted Henri in the Atlantic on Friday (Aug. 20) as it was building strength as a tropical storm. 

"Around the time of the image, Henri was located about 400 miles (640 kilometers) southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, and was moving toward the northwest," NASA's Kathryn Hansen wrote of the image in a description. Henri was just shy of hurricane category 1 status at the time, she added.

Hurricane Henri is the first hurricane to make landfall in the New England area in nearly 30 years. The last to hit New England was Hurricane Bob in 1991, while Long Island was hit by Hurricane Gloria in 1986, according to the New York Times

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The Goes East weather satellite captured this view of Henri, then a tropical storm, on Aug. 20, 2021. The storm grew into a category 1 hurricane on Aug. 21, 2021. (Image credit: NOAA/Goes East)

As of Sunday at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), Henri was located about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south-southeast of Montauk Point, New York with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Long Island area and the southern coast of New England, as are storm surge and flooding warnings. With the outer bands of Henri expected to lash a wide swath of the northeastern U.S., a tropical storm warning is in effect for a region that stretches from New Jersey to Massachusetts, including New York City.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.