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posted on 20 September 2017

Who is Next After Puerto Rico? - 21Sep2017

Written by Sig Silber

This Article has been updated. You can access the updated article at: Turks and Caicos Islands Next - 22Sep2017

11:30 AM EDT Sept 21, 2017: LATEST FROM NHC: "MARIA HEADING TOWARD THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS... ...HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLOODING CONTINUES IN PUERTO RICO AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC..." "some strengthening is still forecast, although it is not especially aggressive given what the latest intensity guidance is showing. Gradual weakening is likely from 48 hours onward".

Special Landing Graphic for Possible Hurricane Maria - What after Puerto Rico

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Damage Reports from the recent impacts of Hurricane Maria start to trickle in. Here is one. And here is an impact assessment and analysis. This report is focused on Puerto Rico. Our coverage on impacts will expand as more information becomes available.

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 even though right now only the Pacific presents major threats. 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 

More Detail


Map Source: Kmusser

And now the Pacific

Eastern Tropical Pacific

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

Tropical Depression 15

Maria Wind Speed Probabilities

And the Discussion

Hurricane Maria Discussion Number  22 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 1100 AM AST Thu Sep 21 2017

Maria is maintaining a large, 40 nm wide eye, and overall, the hurricane's satellite presentation has not changed since the previous advisory.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigating the system has not measured flight-level winds as high as last evening's mission, and the central pressure has remained relatively steady.  Although there were higher SFMR winds measured, especially to the northeast of the center, the flight meteorologist reported that the instrument appears to be running 5-10 kt too high.  Therefore, the initial intensity is held at 100 kt.

Maria appears to be moving over the remnant cold wake leftover from Hurricane Irma, but it should begin to move over an area of higher oceanic heat content during the next 24 hours or so.  Therefore,  some strengthening is still forecast, although it is not especially aggressive given what the latest intensity guidance is showing. Gradual weakening is likely from 48 hours onward due to some increase in southwesterly shear, as well as lower oceanic heat content over the western Atlantic.  Still, Maria is expected to remain a hurricane for the next 5 days.

The initial motion is northwestward, or 310/8 kt.  Maria will be moving between a mid-level high centered south of Bermuda and a broad trough extending from Tropical Storm Jose southwestward into the northern Gulf of Mexico.  As a result, Maria is expected to turn gradually north-northwestward to north-northeastward by the end of the forecast period, keeping it over the waters of the western Atlantic after moving by the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.  The track models continue to be tightly clustered, and the updated NHC track forecast lies right along the previous forecast, down the middle of the guidance envelope.


1. Flash flood emergencies continue in portions of Puerto Rico due to persistent heavy rainfall from Maria's trailing rainbands. Catastrophic flooding is occurring on the island, especially in areas of mountainous terrain, and everyone in Puerto Rico should continue to follow advice from local officials to avoid these life-threatening flooding conditions.

2. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas, where Maria is expected to bring dangerous wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall.


INIT  21/1500Z 20.2N  69.1W  100 KT 115 MPH

12H  22/0000Z 21.0N  69.9W  105 KT 120 MPH

24H  22/1200Z 22.2N  70.7W  105 KT 120 MPH

36H  23/0000Z 23.6N  71.4W  100 KT 115 MPH

48H  23/1200Z 25.1N  71.9W   95 KT 110 MPH

72H  24/1200Z 28.2N  72.3W   95 KT 110 MPH

96H  25/1200Z 30.5N  71.5W   85 KT 100 MPH

120H  26/1200Z 33.0N  70.0W   75 KT  85 MPH

Here is the current Track Map for Jose. 


Tropical Storm Jose


Notice Jose is projected to go out to sea. Could it do a second Loop de Loop and return? Probably not as a strong storm but take a look above and below which was the prior Loop de Loop by this storm. We may not be done with Jose. The track above shows a return as a Tropical Depression. But what about after the last day shown on the Five Day Track?

Prior Jose Loop de Loop

Jose Discussion

Tropical Storm Jose Discussion Number 65 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 1100 AM AST Thu Sep 21 2017

Satellite and radar data suggest that Jose is gradually spinning  down.  The convective bands are relatively shallow, except over the western quadrants where the cloud tops are a bit colder.  The outer-most bands are very near the offshore islands of southeastern New England, where there have been reports of tropical-storm-force winds, especially in gusts.  The Air Force Hurricane Hunters investigated Jose earlier this morning, and a combination of the flight-level winds, SFMR observations, and dropsonde data support holding the initial intensity at 50 kt.

The intensity forecast appears straightforward.  Cool waters, dry air, and an expected increase in wind shear should cause Jose to steadily weaken and lead to post-tropical transition within the next 24 hours.  The post-tropical system is predicted to degenerate into a trough by day 4, as suggested by the GFS and ECMWF models. The NHC intensity forecast is just an update of the previous one, and it lies close to the consensus models.

As previously predicted, Jose has become stationary.  Since the storm is expected to remain in weak steering currents for the next few days, Jose is forecast to meander off the coast of southeastern New England until it dissipates.  This track prediction is not too different from the previous one, and it lies near the middle of the guidance.


1. Tropical-storm-force winds, especially in gusts, are occurring within the tropical storm warning area.  These conditions are expected to continue through tonight.

2. Minor coastal flooding is possible along portions of the coast of southern New England during the next few days.  Please see products issued by local National Weather Service forecast offices.

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


INIT  21/1500Z 39.6N  68.2W   50 KT  60 MPH

12H  22/0000Z 39.5N  68.3W   45 KT  50 MPH

24H  22/1200Z 39.6N  68.9W   40 KT  45 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

36H  23/0000Z 39.5N  69.2W   40 KT  45 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

48H  23/1200Z 39.4N  69.3W   35 KT  40 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

72H  24/1200Z 39.1N  68.0W   30 KT  35 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW

96H  25/1200Z...DISSIPATED

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. Jose is now so weak that it has minimal interaction with Maria.

Some of the graphics below show the two storms of most interest.

Day 1 Forecast Map

Day 2 Forecast

This is a Day 2 Forecast.  Notice Jose has been Downgraded but is still hanging around.

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 very relevant as one can see both storms of most interest 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 did show up in the September 18 Report that was issued Monday evening click here to read. You can see the current QPF for Jose. The heavy precipitation is mostly offshore but not totally.

 Water Vapor Imagery

The water vapor imagery is a good guide to where precipitation is occurring. Jose seem to be impacting Cape Cod right now with diminishing impact. Its impact further north appears to have declined somewhat.

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

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