UPDATED: Hermine has been upgraded to a hurricane.
Are you concerned about Tropical Storm Hermine?
FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – While Tropical Storm Hermine gathers steam as it nears hurricane status off the coast of Florida, a meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury said Connecticut will not likely face the brunt of the storm – if its effects reach the state at all.
Current indications suggest Hermine would be a "minimal category 1 hurricane" as it makes landfall in northwestern Florida on Thursday night. But it will most likely soon return to tropical storm status, Gary Lessor told Daily Voice.
“It’s not going to take too long for it to dissipate back into tropical storm status," said Lessor, who is assistant to the director of Meteorological Studies at WestConn.
"It appears as though it should stay over land — through at least Saturday morning, if not midday on Saturday — and then it would scoot off the coast line of North Carolina, Virginia and try to lift northward."
But a “blocking high” to the north — an area of high pressure, which brings good weather — will slow the storm's northward progress and most likely spare Connecticut from the brunt of the storm.
“We are looking for the bulk of everything to stay to our south,” Lessor said.
And if that’s not the case? It's going to become an extratropical storm , meaning it's going to lose its tropical characteristics, Lessor said.
"Even if it were to eventually come right over southern New England in the Danbury or Ridgefield area, it wouldn’t be a tropical storm, it wouldn’t be a hurricane,” Lessor said.
Lessor said it appears that the coastal regions of Connecticut could get “gusty winds” and potentially heavy rain due to the storm. He said it would be less likely for the interior regions of the state to experience those conditions.
The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said via Twitter, "We continue to monitor Hermine. Shoreline residents should be prepared for possible minor/moderate coastal flooding during high tide cycles."
With the moderate drought across Fairfield County, Lessor said the region could benefit from the precipitation. “We could use all the rain that we can get,” he said.
While it's not ideal to have the rain come down over the period of just a few hours, “certainly if we could get a couple inches of rain that would do a lot to help the rivers and streams get their flow up,” Lessor said.
And still that’s no guarantee. “It’s not a sure thing that it’s going to make it this far north to bring any relief because of the blocking high,” he said.
Beyond Hermine, another storm is possible to develop over the weekend of Sept. 10 and 11. But Lessor said it’s too early to give credence to that storm because the forecast is so far out.
“It’s a talking point, but that’s about it,” Lessor said.