CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Tropical Storm Fay has since been downgraded to remnants as it tracked across western Massachusetts Friday night into Saturday morning.
On Friday, before Fay was downgraded, the once-tropical storm made landfall in New Jersey, leading to 60-mph wind gusts and dumping two to four inches of rain. The heavy rainfall led to flooding in Newark.
There have been only six recorded tropical cyclones to come within 50 miles of southern New England.
So how did Fay make it all the way this far north?
It has to do with warm ocean temperatures, the first ingredient in forming tropical cyclones. As the storm system tracked north, it strengthened into a tropical depression, with winds below 38 mph, and then finally strengthened into a tropical storm, with winds over 40 miles per hour.
Fay continued on its northerly track near southern New England and didn’t weaken until its center hit over land. That happens because warm water is fuel to tropical cyclones, so once that’s shut off, the storm weakens.