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posted on 17 September 2017

Extreme Concern about Maria Continues - 18Sep2017

Written by Sig Silber


This Article has been updated. You can access the updated atricle at Extreme Concern about Maria Continues - 18 Sep2017 - Update 1


12:30 AM EDT Sept 18, 2017  Watches and Warnings have been issued for both Maria and Jose and we will update this report as needed to provide recent information. There will be more aircraft surveillance and we will report on these from time to time on Monday.

Special Landing Graphic for Possible Hurricane Maria


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This is an active period in the tropics so we are starting with the overview of the situation in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. Those potentially impacted by any of these storms should consult their local sources of information. The Public Advisories and other information that is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center can be found here. Information from the Weather Prediction Center can be found here.

First the Atlantic

Eastern Tropical Pacific

Note Tropical Storm Maria. It is a real threat!!!!!!!!!!

And now the Pacific. 

Eastern Tropical Pacific 

Norma is no longer much of a threat even for Baja California. Otis is moving to the west. Other than for shipping, only Jose and Maria in the Atlantic are of concern.

The two most dangerous storms right now are in the Atlantic.

We start our Report with currently Tropical Storm Maria, which now appears to be the main threat to life and property and soon. Where you see an "M" on a track map that means a Hurricane of Category 3 or higher. Predictions four days out are not highly reliable but a prediction of an "M"  storm directly on Puerto Rico can not be ignored.

Tropical Depression 15

And the Discussion

Hurricane Maria Discussion Number  7 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 1100 PM AST Sun Sep 17 2017

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft received just after the previous advisory indicated that Maria's maximum sustained winds had increased to 70 kt.  Since that time, a large central dense overcast with cloud tops colder than -80C has formed, and data from the radar on Martinique shows 60-70 percent of an eyewall is present under the overcast.  Satellite intensity estimates have increased to 75 kt, and that is the initial intensity.

The initial motion is 290/11.  The subtropical ridge to the north is expected to steer Maria generally west-northwestward for the next 72 h, with some decrease in the forward speed.  After that time, the guidance suggests that the hurricane should turn more toward the northwest as it approaches the western end of the ridge. The track guidance remains tightly clustered, and the new forecast track, which is similar to the previous track, is in best overall agreement with the HFIP corrected consensus and ECMWF models.Analyses from CIMSS at the University of Wisconsin suggest that Maria is currently experiencing light to moderate southwesterly shear.  However, all indications are that the shear should diminish during the next 24-48 h, which should allow steady to rapid strengthening.  The Rapid Intensification Index of the SHIPS model forecast better than a 50 percent chance of 25-30 kt of strengthening during the next 24 h, and about a 35 percent chance of 55 kt of strengthening during the next 48 h.  Based on this, the intensity forecast has been increased to show Maria becoming a major hurricane in 24 h and a category 4 hurricane in 48 h.  Late in the forecast period, a combination of land interaction and increasing shear should cause some weakening.  The new intensity forecast is near the upper edge of the guidance in best overall agreement with the HWRF.

KEY MESSAGES:

1. Maria continues to strengthen and is expected to be at major hurricane intensity when it affects portions of the Leeward Islands over the next few days, bringing dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards.  Hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been issued for portions of the Leeward Islands, and these warnings will likely be extended northward and westward on Monday.

2. Maria is likely to affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid week as a dangerous major hurricane.  Hurricane watches have been issued for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and could be extended to Puerto Rico early Monday.  Interests in these areas should monitor the progress of Maria and follow any advice given by local officials.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  18/0300Z 14.2N  58.4W   75 KT  85 MPH

12H  18/1200Z 14.7N  59.8W   85 KT 100 MPH

24H  19/0000Z 15.4N  61.2W  100 KT 115 MPH

36H  19/1200Z 16.2N  62.6W  110 KT 125 MPH

48H  20/0000Z 16.9N  63.9W  115 KT 130 MPH

72H  21/0000Z 18.5N  67.0W  120 KT 140 MPH...OVER PUERTO RICO

96H  22/0000Z 20.0N  69.5W  115 KT 130 MPH...OVER WATER

120H  23/0000Z 22.0N  71.5W  105 KT 120 MPH

We have observed a slight change in the track forecast after Puerto Rico. Consulting other forecasting models suggests that the track may also be soon adjusted slightly for Puerto Rico in a way that the strongest winds possibly may not impact Puerto Rico. That will be of interest as this storm moves closer and more information becomes available.

HURRICANE MARIA FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER  7 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   0300 UTC MON SEP 18 2017

CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* GUADELOUPE

* DOMINICA

* ST. KITTS...NEVIS...AND MONTSERRAT

* MARTINIQUE

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

* SABA AND ST. EUSTATIUS

* ST. LUCIA

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

* SABA AND ST. EUSTATIUS

* ST. MAARTEN

* ST. MARTIN AND ST. BARTHELEMY

* ANGUILLA

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* BARBADOS

* ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Here is the current Track Map for Jose. 

Tropical Storm Jose

Notice Jose is projected to go out to sea. The issue is when? Does it take a small move west first? What about Nova Scotia and Cape Cod? The most recent discussions from NHC are optimistic.  The risk to Nova Scotia seems to have been reduced. Cape Cod will be wet. We will pay close attention to the NHC Discussion updates.

Jose Discussion

Hurricane Jose Discussion Number 51 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL  1100 PM EDT Sun Sep 17 2017

Jose's cloud pattern has transformed from one with a tight inner core to one with a large convective band over the northern semicircle that wraps around the center.  This change in structure can be seen in recent microwave imagery and aircraft data that show an expansion of the radius of maximum winds.  Data from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft still support an initial wind speed of 80 kt, but the minimum pressure has risen several millibars since this morning.

Strong southwesterly shear and gradually decreasing sea surface temperatures along the track of Jose are expected to cause gradual weakening, however Jose is forecast to maintain hurricane intensity  through 48 hours.  Around that time, Jose is forecast to pass north of the north wall of the Gulf Stream and over much cooler waters, which will likely result in an additional decrease in intensity  at 72 h and beyond.  The NHC intensity forecast is in good agreement with the SHIPS guidance through 72 h, and closer to the global models at days 4 and 5.

Jose is moving northward at about 8 kt around the western portion of a mid-level ridge over the western Atlantic.  The track forecast reasoning is the same as the previous advisory.  Jose should continue northward during the next day or so, then turn north-northeastward as a broad mid-latitude trough passes north of the hurricane.  After the trough passes Jose's longitude in about 72 h, the cyclone will be left within weak steering currents and is expected to drift eastward, then southeastward and southward late in the forecast period.  The NHC track forecast through 72 h Is virtually on top of the previous advisory.  The latest dynamical model guidance takes Jose a little more westward very late in the period, and the new NHC track forecast has been shifted to the left at day 5, close to the latest ECMWF ensemble mean.

KEY MESSAGES:

1. While the center of Jose is currently forecast to remain offshore of the U.S. coast, the large cyclone could cause some direct impacts from Delaware northward to New England, and any deviation to the left of the NHC forecast track would increase the likelihood and magnitude of those impacts.  A tropical storm watch is now in effect from the Delaware coast to southeastern Massachusetts. Interests elsewhere along the U.S. east coast from North Carolina to New England should monitor the progress of Jose through the next several days.

2. Minor to moderate coastal flooding is possible from Delaware to southern New England during the next several days.  Please see products issued by local National Weather Service forecast offices.

3. Swells generated by Jose are affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas, and much of the U.S. east coast. These swells are likely to cause dangerous surf and rip current conditions for the next several days in these areas.

4. Jose will produce heavy rain as it passes near southern New England and the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Total accumulations of three to five inches are expected over eastern Long Island, southern Rhode Island, and southeast Massachusetts, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.  Based on the current forecast, the risk of flooding will be limited in scope.  Any deviation to the left of the forecast track, however, could bring heavier and more widespread rainfall to southern New England, Long Island, New York City, and New Jersey.  If this deviation were to occur, the risk of urban flash flooding and some river flooding would increase.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  18/0300Z 32.2N  71.6W   80 KT  90 MPH

12H  18/1200Z 33.4N  71.6W   75 KT  85 MPH

24H  19/0000Z 34.9N  71.6W   75 KT  85 MPH

36H  19/1200Z 36.6N  71.6W   70 KT  80 MPH

48H  20/0000Z 38.3N  71.0W   65 KT  75 MPH

72H  21/0000Z 40.2N  68.8W   55 KT  65 MPH

96H  22/0000Z 39.5N  68.0W   50 KT  60 MPH

120H  23/0000Z 38.5N  68.0W   45 KT  50 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

The risk for Nova Scotia and points north seems to have abated for the moment. The most vulnerable area would appear to be Cape Cod

HURRICANE JOSE FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER 51 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 0300 UTC MON SEP 18 2017

CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* FENWICK ISLAND TO SANDY HOOK

* DELAWARE BAY SOUTH

* EAST ROCKAWAY INLET TO PLYMOUTH

* BLOCK ISLAND

* MARTHA'S VINEYARD

* NANTUCKET

This shows the loop de loop of Jose pretty well. It is not that unusual but makes long-term forecasting difficult. Also you can see that the track of Jose was just far enough north to avoid significant impacts in the Antilles. Is Jose doing another loop de loop?

Jose loop de loop

General Weather Situation

We believe that it is easier to understand what is going on with individual storms if they are put into the context of the overall weather situation.

Three day

The graphic above is particularly useful as it shows the forecasted conditions that might determine the future of a storm beyond the predictions of where the storm might be on Day 3. This graphic is updated frequently. The High north of Jose appears to be moving out of position to have much impact.

Some of the graphics below show the two storms of most interest. Other graphics will be more relevant for Jose as it moves north and comes into view.

Day 1 Forecast Map

Day 2 Forecast

This is a Day 2 Forecast.

Additional Graphics

More explanation on Atmospheric Rivers can be found by clicking here or if you want more theoretical information by clicking here.

Atmospheric Rivers

This is a national animation of weather fronts and precipitation forecasts with four 6-hour projections of the conditions that will apply covering the next 24 hours and a second day of two 12-hour projections the second of which is the forecast for 48 hours out and to the extent it applies for 12 hours, this animation is intended to provide coverage out to 60 hours. This graphic is now very relevant  as one can see three storms in this graphic. .

current highs and lows

The explanation for the coding used in these maps, i.e. the full legend, can be found here although it includes some symbols that are no longer shown in the graphic because they are implemented by color coding.

Precipitation Forecast

You can see the forecast for seven days of cumulative precipitation. It is important to keep in mind that these are forecasts going forward. Precipitation that has already occurred does not show up in these forecasts but will show up in the 30 day maps we show in our weekly Weather and Climate Report. That did not show up in our September 11 Report but it will show up in the September 18 Report. You can already see a preliminary precipitation QPF for Jose. It is mostly offshore and now except for Cape Cod.

 Water Vapor Imagery

The water vapor imagery is a good guide to where precipitation is occurring. You can now see Jose and Norma. One might even conclude that they see water vapor from Norma impacting Texas but not to a significant extent as it is right now further south. Norma no longer looks like a fully closed low.

Click here for a list of Sig Silber's Weather Posts

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