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posted on 18 September 2017

Extreme Concern about Maria Continues - 18Sep2017 - Update 2

Written by Sig Silber


This article has been updated. You can access the new article by clicking on Maria Hits Dominica and Continues -19Sep2017


6:45 PM EDT Sept 18, 2017: This Update Focuses on Maria. From NHC: "Maria is developing the dreaded pinhole eye.  The last reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and radar data from Martinique indicated an eye with a diameter of about 8-10 n mi, and this featured has recently become better defined in visible and infrared satellite imagery.  The aircraft data supported an intensity of 105-110 kt back at 18Z, and all indications are that rapid intensification is continuing.  Thus, the initial intensity is increased to 115 kt.  Another Hurricane Hunter aircraft is schedule to arrive in Maria about 2330Z, and it is distinctly possible that it will find a higher intensity than 115 kt." Also from NHC: "THE EYE AND THE INTENSE INNER CORE IS EXPECTED TO PASS NEAR DOMINICA DURING THE NEXT FEW HOURS."

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.  Will have impacts very soon!

And now the Pacific. 

Eastern Tropical Pacific

We start our Report with currently Tropical Storm Maria. The"M" Designation means a very powerful storm: Category 3 or higher.  

Tropical Depression 15

And the Discussion

Hurricane Maria Discussion Number 10 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 500 PM AST Mon Sep 18 2017

Maria is developing the dreaded pinhole eye.  The last reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and radar data from Martinique indicated an eye with a diameter of about 8-10 n mi, and this featured has recently become better defined in visible and infrared satellite imagery.  The aircraft data supported an intensity of 105-110 kt back at 18Z, and all indications are that rapid intensification is continuing.  Thus, the initial intensity is increased to 115 kt.  Another Hurricane Hunter aircraft is schedule to arrive in Maria about 2330Z, and it is distinctly possible that it will find a higher intensity than 115 kt.

After an excursion to the left overnight, Maria has resumed a motion of 290-295 degrees at about 8 kt, and the short-term motion may be even farther to the right.  A weak subtropical ridge to the north of the hurricane should steer it generally west-northwestward for the next three days, with the center crossing the Leeward Islands near Dominica during the next few hours.  This is expected to be followed by a track across the northeastern Caribbean to near the Virgin Islands, then followed by a passage over or near Puerto Rico around the 48 h point.  Once north of Puerto Rico, the hurricane should gradually turn toward the northwest and north-northwest as it approaches a weakness in the ridge.  The track guidance is tightly clustered through 120 h, and the new forecast track is an update of the previous forecast that lies a little to the south of the various consensus models.

Atmospheric and oceanic conditions appear favorable for additional rapid strengthening for the next 24 h and possibly longer.  The intensity forecast, which is at or above the upper edge of the guidance, now calls for Maria to reach a peak intensity of 135 kt in about 24 h, and it is possible that the hurricane could reach category 5 status.  Later in the forecast period, land interaction and less favorable upper-level winds are expected to cause some weakening.  On top of these general trends, there is also the possibility that eyewall replacement cycles could occur that would affect the intensity.  However, Maria is likely to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through the forecast period.

It should be noted that the despite the great intensity of Maria, the hurricane force winds are currently confined to a small area near the eye.  The radii forecast assumes that the 64-kt radii will not expand significantly during the next 36 h.  However, if an eyewall replacement cycle occurs, the hurricane-force winds could expand to an area larger than forecast.

If radar data from the eastern Caribbean is regularly available, Tropical Cyclone Updates may be issued this evening.

KEY MESSAGES:

1. Maria will affect portions of the Leeward Islands and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands as an extremely dangerous major hurricane during the next couple of days, and hurricane warnings are in effect for many of these islands.

2. Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico as an extremely dangerous major hurricane, and a hurricane warning has been issued for that island.

3. The potential for a life-threatening storm surge, accompanied by large and destructive waves, has increased for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

4. Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides from heavy rainfall are expected across the Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  18/2100Z 15.1N  60.7W  115 KT 130 MPH

12H  19/0600Z 15.7N  61.9W  125 KT 145 MPH

24H  19/1800Z 16.5N  63.3W  135 KT 155 MPH

36H  20/0600Z 17.3N  64.7W  135 KT 155 MPH

48H  20/1800Z 18.2N  66.2W  130 KT 150 MPH...OVER PUERTO RICO

72H  21/1800Z 20.0N  69.0W  125 KT 145 MPH...OVER WATER

96H  22/1800Z 22.0N  71.5W  120 KT 140 MPH

120H  23/1800Z 25.0N  73.0W  105 KT 120 MPH

HURRICANE MARIA FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER  10 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 2100 UTC MON SEP 18 2017

CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR PUERTO RICO...CULEBRA...AND VIEQUES.

THE METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE OF ST. LUCIA HAS CHANGED THE HURRICANE WARNING FOR THAT ISLAND TO A TROPICAL STORM WARNING.

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FROM ISLA SAONA TO PUERTO PLATA...AND A TROPICAL STORM WATCH WEST OF PUERTO PLATA TO THE NORTHERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC-HAITI BORDER.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* GUADELOUPE

* DOMINICA

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

* MARTINIQUE

* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

* PUERTO RICO...CULEBRA...AND VIEQUES

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

* SABA AND ST. EUSTATIUS

* ST. MAARTEN

* ANGUILLA

* ST. LUCIA

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* SABA AND ST. EUSTATIUS

* ST. MAARTEN

* ST. MARTIN AND ST. BARTHELEMY

* ANGUILLA

* ISLA SAONA TO PUERTO PLATA

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

* WEST OF PUERTO PLATA TO THE NORTHERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC-HAITI

BORDER

Here is the current Track Map for Jose. 

Tropical Storm Jose

Notice Jose is projected to go out to sea.  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 but Jose appears to be no worse than a strong Nor'easter at this point. .

Jose Discussion

Hurricane Jose Discussion Number 53 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 1100 AM EDT Mon Sep 18 2017

Satellite images indicate that Jose is losing some tropical characteristics.  The cloud pattern of the hurricane is asymmetric with much of the central convection and convective bands confined to the north of the center.  The NOAA and Air Force Hurricane Hunters have found that Jose is weaker, with maximum flight-level winds of 78 kt and maximum SFMR surface winds of 58 kt observed.  Based on these data, the initial wind speed is lowered to 65 kt.

Jose should remain over warm Gulf Stream waters during the next 24 hours, but it will also be in an environment of strong south-southwesterly shear, so little change in strength is expected during that time.  Shortly thereafter, the hurricane is forecast to cross the north wall of the Gulf Stream and move into a progressively drier air mass.  These unfavorable conditions should cause a slow weakening trend and lead to post-tropical transition, which is now expected to be complete by day 3.  The NHC intensity forecast is a little lower than the previous one in the short term to account for the slightly lower initial wind speed.

The hurricane has been wobbling around, but the general motion has been northward at 8 kt.  A mid-level ridge over the western Atlantic should continue to steer Jose northward at about the same forward speed during the next day or two.  Thereafter, a trough currently over central Canada is expected to cause Jose to turn eastward in the 2 to 3 day time frame.  The trough is then expected to lift out, leaving Jose in weak steering currents and causing the cyclone to drift southward by the end of the forecast period.  Only minor changes were made to the previous NHC track forecast, and this prediction lies near a blend of the GFS and ECMWF models.

KEY MESSAGES:

1. While the center of Jose is currently forecast to remain offshore of the U.S. coast, the large cyclone is expected to cause some direct impacts in portions of New England, and a tropical storm warning has been issued for the coast of Rhode Island and a part of the Massachusetts coast, including Cape Cod.  Any deviation to the left of the NHC forecast track would increase the likelihood and magnitude of impacts elsewhere along the U.S. east coast from Delaware to southern New England, where a tropical storm watch is in effect.

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 3 to 5 inches are expected over eastern Long Island, southeast Connecticut, southern Rhode Island, and southeast Massachusetts, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. While the risk of flooding is currently limited in scope, any deviation to the  left of the forecast track, 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  18/1500Z 33.9N  71.1W   65 KT  75 MPH

12H  19/0000Z 35.1N  71.3W   65 KT  75 MPH

24H  19/1200Z 36.7N  71.3W   65 KT  75 MPH

36H  20/0000Z 38.2N  70.9W   65 KT  75 MPH

48H  20/1200Z 39.4N  70.0W   60 KT  70 MPH

72H  21/1200Z 40.0N  67.9W   50 KT  60 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

96H  22/1200Z 39.1N  68.3W   50 KT  60 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

120H  23/1200Z 38.5N  68.5W   45 KT  50 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

HURRICANE JOSE FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER  53 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL  1500 UTC MON SEP 18 2017

CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FROM WATCH HILL... RHODE ISLAND... TO HULL... MASSACHUSETTS... INCLUDING BLOCK ISLAND... MARTHA'S VINEYARD... AND NANTUCKET.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* WATCH HILL TO HULL

* BLOCK ISLAND

* MARTHA'S VINEYARD

* NANTUCKET

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* FENWICK ISLAND TO SANDY HOOK

* DELAWARE BAY SOUTH

* EAST ROCKAWAY INLET TO WATCH HILL

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 have moved out of position to have much impact. Notice on Day 3 Norma is not longer visible or is way offshore.

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 that will be issued this evening. You can already see a preliminary precipitation QPF for Jose. It is mostly offshore 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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