Impacts from powerful Hurricane Larry to reach Bermuda and US, Canada coasts

·6 min read

Even though Larry is forecast to remain well east of the United States, the powerful hurricane is expected to pass close to Bermuda and could make landfall in Atlantic Canada, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. But, impacts from Larry will be far-reaching even though the storm may stay hundreds of miles away from the Atlantic beaches from Florida to Maine.

Larry appeared as a very healthy and dangerous Category 3 hurricane on Monday touting a large eye and maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (193 km/h). The hurricane was moving to the northwest at 10 mph (17 km/h). As of Monday morning, Larry was located 830 miles (1,340 km) to the southeast of Bermuda.

This satellite imagery, taken late Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, shows Category 3 Hurricane Larry over the central Atlantic. (AccuWeather Enhanced RealVue™ Satellite)

Tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph (63 km/h) or greater extended outward from the center of the storm by 185 miles (295 km). The plunger effect of the rushing air on the water was creating large swells that were propagating outward from the center.

As Larry takes a curved path to the northwest and north this week, swells will lead the hurricane by several days.

"Swells were already reaching the northeast-facing coastlines of the Caribbean Islands and the southeastern-facing coastline of Bermuda and are forecast to spread northwestward this week," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

"Swells will then spread through the Bahamas during Monday and Tuesday, and then much of the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and Atlantic Canada during the middle and latter part of this week," Roys added.

As these swells reach coastal waters, large waves, known as breakers, will form.

With large and strong waves hitting the beaches, water will tend to rush back out to sea in narrow channels called rip currents. These currents can be especially dangerous to bathers that may get caught up in the flow of water. Even though rip currents are always there in average wave conditions, the stronger and more frequent the wave action, the stronger and more frequent the rip currents tend to become. The increased wave action can be enough to lead to overwash and coastal flooding at times of high tide.

People at the beaches are urged to obey restrictions that authorities have in place. With the number of lifeguards dwindling at most beaches after the Labor Day weekend, the level of danger will increase for bathers with Hurricane Larry at sea.

The worst conditions in the northeastern U.S. are likely to be the second half of this week, when Larry is expected to make its closest approach.

In terms of approach, it is possible that Larry may pass within a couple hundred miles of Bermuda with the risk of an even more close encounter with the powerful eye wall of the hurricane. At present speed, that encounter would occur around the islands of Bermuda from Wednesday night to Thursday.

At this time, the center of Larry is likely to pass about 150 miles (241 km) east of Bermuda. But, even with this track, impacts ranging from dangerous surf and seas to tropical-storm force wind gusts between 40 and 70 mph (64 and 113 km/h) are anticipated. Larry has been rated as less than 1 on the AccuWeather RealImact™ scale by AccuWeather forecasters.

Since most buildings in Bermuda are well-constructed, minimal damage is likely with these conditions, but sporadic power outages are possible. In terms of wet weather, any non-flooding rain is generally welcomed to help with the islands' water supply.

A general 1 to locally 2 inches (25-50 millimeters) of rain is forecast. Only if Larry shifts its track farther west might rainfall exceed 2 inches.

AccuWeather meteorologists caution that should Larry's track shift farther to the west, more severe conditions would occur on Bermuda and in waters west of the islands.

Should the track shift farther to the east, the impact from Larry may be more minor in nature.

Following Bermuda, the next land mass that could be significantly impacted by Larry is Atlantic Canada.

At this time, Larry is expected to survive as a hurricane into the North Atlantic, although a significant loss of wind intensity is likely as the temperature of the water decreases and wind shear increases. Larry could still make a swipe at part of Atlantic Canada with the intensity of a hurricane or strong tropical storm.


"While Larry may be undergoing a transition to a tropical rainstorm by this point, it is still expected to contain winds equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane (maximum sustained winds 74-95 mph or 119-153 km/h)," Roys said.

AccuWeather meteorologists continue to monitor the progress of a dip in the jet stream that is forecast to pivot into the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada during the middle and latter part of this week.

As long as that jet stream dip continues to push eastward, it will aid in turning Larry toward a more northeastward path late this week through next weekend. In this more likely scenario, a strong eastward push by the jet stream might be enough to keep Larry from making landfall in Atlantic Canada and in Newfoundland in particular. However, a weaker push by the jet stream, where the dip stalls or pivots over the northeastern U.S., might allow Larry to track farther to the west in Atlantic Canada and closer to New England. For this reason, interests from New England through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland should continue to monitor the progress of Larry later this week.

Even with a turn to the northeast, there still might not be enough to avoid significant impact in Atlantic Canada, and especially Newfoundland. "There is still enough wiggle room in the track at this point that a direct hit on Newfoundland can not be ruled out," Roys said.

Interaction with an approaching cold front may draw tropical moisture northward into the region in the form of torrential downpours and perhaps localized flooding even if the center of Larry stays just off the coast of Newfoundland.

At this time, a general 2-4 inches of rain (50-100 millimeters) with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 6 inches (150 millimeters) is forecast. Winds of 40-60 mph (64-97 km/h) are anticipated with a Local StormMax wind gust of 80 mph (129 km/h) in southeastern Newfoundland.

Atlantic Canada is no stranger to impacts from tropical systems. While cold waters offer some protection from the full fury of hurricanes, there have been many that have made landfall in the region while transitioning to tropical rainstorms. Many of these systems have brought tremendous rainfall and flooding as well as damaging winds despite official degradation.

The most recent of these tropical systems in transition was Teddy in 2020, which made landfall in Nova Scotia as a 65-mph (105-km/h) tropical rainstorm. In 2019, Dorian, which peaked as a deadly and destructive Category 5 hurricane near the Bahamas, made landfall in Nova Scotia on Sept. 7, as a tropical rainstorm with hurricane-force winds.

The last named system to make landfall as a full-fledged hurricane in Newfoundland was Igor on Sept. 21, 2010. Igor passed over Cape Race, Newfoundland, with 85 mph (137 km/h) sustained winds. Earlier in Sept. 2010, Earl made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in Nova Scotia.

Even if Larry avoids a direct strike on Bermuda and Atlantic Canada and a close encounter with eastern New England, trans-Atlantic shipping and cruise interests, as well as offshore fishing operations in New England and Atlantic Canada will need to monitor the hurricane's progress.

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