Tropical Storm Henri was the eighth named storm of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Henri formed on September 3 in the eastern Gulf of Mexico well west of the west coast of Florida. Henri moved slowly north, then eratically eastward, where it made landfall Clearwater, Florida on September 6 as a tropical depression. Henri dissipated on September 8.

Henri caused $19.6 million (2003 USD) in damage but it did not cause any fatalities.

Henri near peak intensity
FormationSeptember 3, 2003
Dissipation September 8, 2003
Highest winds 60 mph
Lowest pressure 997 mbar
Deaths None reported
Damages $19.6 million (2003 USD)
Areas affectedFlorida, Bahamas, Bermuda, Delaware, Pennsylvania
Part of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological History


On August 22, a tropical wave exited the coast of Africa and began heading westward across the Atlantic Ocean and the Carribean Sea. The wave did not begin to develop significantly until it reached the Gulf of Mexico on September 1, at which point convection steadily increased and organized around the wave's low-level circulation center as the wave moved to the north. On September 3, while located 300 miles west of Tampa, Florida, the wave developed into Tropical Depression Twelve. Embedded within a slow-moving mid-latitude trough, the depression moved eastward, and it strengthened into Tropical Storm Henri on September 5. Henri continued to strengthen, despite strong southwesterly wind shear, and it reached its peak intensity of 60 mph later on September 5. Shortly after reaching its peak intensity, the strong southwesterly wind shear began to weaken the cyclone, and it weakened to a tropical depression as a result of the shear. Henri was not able to intensify again, and it made landfall near Clearwater, Florida on September 6 as a tropical depression with 35 mph winds. After landfall, Henri accelerated to the northeast and entered the Atlantic Ocean. Despite initial predictions of potential to re-intensification due to potentially lower wind shear, Henri never re-intensified, and instead dissipated on September 8 off the coast of North Carolina because of the strong vertical shearing environment. Henri's remnant low-pressure area remained nearly stationary because of a ridge to the north. Convection associated with Henri's remnants remained disorganized, although forecasters kept watch incase of redevelopment.

On September 12, the remnants moved inland near Cape Hatteras before it could reorganize.

Henri's remnants making landfall in North Carolina.

The remnants then turned north and dissipated on September 17 over New England.


When the depression that would spawn Henri developed, the National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Warning from Englewood to Indian Pass, Florida. By the time Henri made landfall, however, the warnings were discontinued. Prior to landfall, flood warnings were issued throughout the state of Florida, with forecasters predicting around 5 to 10 inches of rainfall for the state. As a result of the cyclone's approach, 12 shelters were placed on standby. Also, the Hurricane Shelter Information Hotline was placed on standby and was ready to be activated within 10 minutes. Officials in Levy County declared a state of emergency. There, sandbags as well as sand were sent to the cities of Cedar Key, Yankeetown, and Inglis to prepare for storm surge flooding.


Henri produced heavy rainfall across its path, with the worst of the flooding occuring in Delaware. Total damage from the storm totaled to $19.6 million (2003 USD), mainly in Delaware.


Total rainfall from Tropical Storm Henri.


Prior to making landfall in the state, Henri produced high waves along the coast. After a summer full of tropical moisture, Henri brought more moisture to the already wet state, peaking at 9.09 inches at Hialeah, which is located in the southeastern part of the state. Also, two other locations reported over 7 inches of rain from the storm, although most locations only received light rainfall from the storm. In Hernando County, a stationary thunderstorm produced by Tropical Storm Henri dropped over 5 inches of rain in around one hour's time. It caused a rapid flooding of roadways, although the flooding quickly receded. Due to the lack of many homes in the area, damage was minor. Also, in Charlotte County, a feederband from the cyclone produced 7 inches of rain in three hours, which flooded numerous streets and homes. Total damage in Florida from the storm was minimal, and nobody was killed by the storm. However, lightning from one of the storm's rainbands struck and injured a man in Lee County, while an indirect injury from a car crash occured due to hydroplaning.


In the Bahamas, Henri's outer rainbands produced around 1 inch of rain. Also, the wind gusts reached 32 mph.


Just days after powerful Hurricane Fabian struck the island, moisture from Henri's remnants produced thunderstorms as well as heavy rainfall, totaling to 2.44 inches at the Bermuda International Airport. Henri disrupted recovery efforts on the island, though caused no known damage.

Mid-Atlantic States

In North Carolina, Virginia, as well as Maryland, rainfall from Henri's remnants was light, with the exception of a few areas receiving over 3 inches of rain. The storm produced greater amounts of rainfall in Delaware and Pennsylvania, however, including a peak of 9.02 inches in Hockessin. In Downingtown, Pennsylvania, over 8 inches of rain fell in a period of six hours, while doppler radar estimated that over 10 inches of rain occured at Kennett Square in a period of five hours. The heavy rainfall led to record discharge rates along the Red Clay Creek, which in itself had a record crest which peaked just below 26 feet. Parts of the river saw a 500-year flood, which has a 0.2% chance of occuring in any given year. Also, numerous rivers in southeastern Pennsylvania rose above their flood stages.

In Delaware, the flooding damaged numerous homes, including 194 in the Glenville area. The rapid flooding trapped numerous people in their vehicles as well as their homes, which forced at least one rescue by helicopter. The people that needed to be rescued via helicopter were evacuated to nearby shelters. Also, the severe flooding washed out most of a bridge in Hockessin and it also destroyed 6 Wilmington & Western Railroad bridges, which caused about $5,000,000 (2003 USD) in damage. The railroad bridges are still being rebuilt as of 2006. Also, Greenbank Mill, a historic gristmill complex, received $450,000 (2003 USD) in damage from Henri. Total damage in Delaware was $16.1 million (2003 USD). Also, flash flooding in Pennsylvania resulted in 2,600 emergency 911 calls and around 100 rescues for cars as well as homes. The flooding destroyed 12 homes, and damaged 336, over half severely. Also, wet soil downed trees and power lines, which caused power outages to 109,000 PECO Energy customers. High floodwaters damaged 22 bridges and closed 2 of them indefinitely, and the flooding also caused the closing of several roads, including a portion of U.S. Highway 1 located in Chadds Ford. Total damage in Pennsylvania from Henri was $3.5 million (2003 USD). The impacts in the area were significantly worsened following Hurricane Isabel just a week later.

Lack of Retirement

Because damage was not extreme, the name Henri was not retired in the Spring of 2004 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2003 Atlantic hurricane season


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