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posted on 18 September 2017

Extreme Concern about Maria Continues - 18Sep2017 - Update 1

Written by Sig Silber


There is now a later update. You can access that at Extreme Concern about Maria Continues - 18Sep2017 - Update 2


1:45 PM EDT Sept 18, 2017:  Many Watches and Warnings have been issued. From NHC: "Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Maria is undergoing rapid intensification.  The aircraft reported 700-mb flight-level winds of 115 kt in the northeastern eyewall, along with reliable-looking surface wind estimates from the Stepped Frequency Microwave radiometer as high as 104 kt.  In addition, the estimated central pressure inside the 10 n mi wide eye has fallen to 959 mb."  

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 

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  9 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 1100 AM AST Mon Sep 18 2017

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Maria is undergoing rapid intensification.  The aircraft reported 700-mb flight-level winds of 115 kt in the northeastern eyewall, along with reliable-looking surface wind estimates from the Stepped Frequency Microwave radiometer as high as 104 kt.  In addition, the estimated central pressure inside the 10 n mi wide eye has fallen to 959 mb.  The initial intensity is increased to 100 kt, making Maria a major category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  The small eye is also apparent in radar data from Martinique.

The initial motion is 285/9, a little to the left of the previous motion.  Other than that, there is little change in either the forecast philosophy or the forecast track.  A high pressure area to the north of Maria should maintain a general west-northwestward motion for the next three days or so.  After that, the high weakens, which should allow the hurricane to turn gradually northwestward and north-northwestward.  The new forecast track is changed little from the previous one, and it calls for Maria to move through the Leeward Islands in 12-24 h, approach the Virgin Islands in about 36 h, then cross Puerto Rico between 48-72 h.  The new track lies to the left of the center of the guidance envelope in best agreement with the ECMWF.

Atmospheric and oceanic conditions appear favorable for additional rapid strengthening for the next 24 h and possibly longer. This is reflected in the intensity forecast, which now calls for Maria to become a category 4 hurricane in 12 h and reach a possibly conservative peak intensity of 130 kt in about 36 h.  From 72-120 h, 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 maintain category 3 to 4 intensity through the forecast period.

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 watch is in effect for that island. A hurricane warning will likely be issued later today.

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  18/1500Z 14.7N  60.1W  105 KT 120 MPH

12H  19/0000Z 15.1N  61.2W  115 KT 130 MPH

24H  19/1200Z 15.9N  62.6W  125 KT 145 MPH

36H  20/0000Z 16.8N  64.1W  130 KT 150 MPH

48H  20/1200Z 17.6N  65.5W  130 KT 150 MPH

72H  21/1200Z 19.5N  68.5W  125 KT 145 MPH

96H  22/1200Z 21.5N  71.0W  120 KT 140 MPH

120H  23/1200Z 24.0N  72.5W  110 KT 125 MPH

HURRICANE MARIA FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER  9 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 1500 UTC MON SEP 18 2017

CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR THE U. S. VIRGIN ISLANDS.

THE METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE OF ANTIGUA HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WARNING FOR THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS...AND A TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR ANGUILLA.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* GUADELOUPE

* DOMINICA

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

* MARTINIQUE

* ST. LUCIA

* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

* ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

* SABA AND ST. EUSTATIUS

* ST. MAARTEN

* ANGUILLA

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...

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

* 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 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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