Tag Archives: AL14

Tropical Depression Fifteen Forms Southeast of Cabo Verde Islands

Tropical Depression Fifteen formed southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands on Monday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Depression Fifteen was located at latitude 13.2°N and longitude 20.2°W which put it about 320 miles (515 km) southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands.  The depression was moving toward the northwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

A large, well developed low pressure system embedded in the northern end of a tropical wave moved over the Atlantic Ocean west of North Africa on Monday.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms began to strengthen when the low moved over water and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Depression Fifteen.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of the depression.  Storms closer to the center were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from Tropical Depression Fifteen.  The circulation around the depression was quite large.  The diameter of the low level circulation was about 500 miles (800 km).

Tropical Depression Fifteen will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 48 hours.  The depression will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move under the western end of an upper level ridge centered over North Africa.  The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear during the next day or two.  Tropical Depression Fifteen is likely to strengthen into Tropical Storm Nestor.

The ridge over North Africa will steer Tropical Depression Fifteen toward the northwest during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the center of the depression could reach the Cabo Verde Islands within 24 hours.  Since the depression is forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm watches and/or warnings could be issued.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Melissa completed a transition to an extratropical cyclone on Monday.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Melissa was located at latitude 41.0°N and longitude 51.4°W which put it about 405 miles (650 km) south-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.  Melissa was moving toward the east at 23 m.p.h. (37 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1004 mb.

Subtropical Storm Melissa Develops off Northeast U.S. Coast

Subtropical Storm Melissa developed off the northeast coast of the U.S. on Friday.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Subtropical Storm Melissa was located at latitude 38.5°N and longitude 69.6°W which put it about 190 miles (300 km) south of Nantucket, Massachusetts.  Melissa was moving toward the south-southwest at 3 m.p.h. (5 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 995 mb.

More thunderstorms developed near the center of a large low pressure system off the northeast coast of the U.S. on Friday morning and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Subtropical Storm Melissa.  Melissa initially began as an extratropical cyclone along a slow moving cold front off the east coast of the U.S earlier this week.  The cold front moved east of the surface low pressure system and the surface low stalled underneath an upper level trough.  More showers and thunderstorms began to develop in bands and the low pressure system started to look more subtropical.

The circulation around Melissa was characteristic of a subtropical storm.  There was a well defined center of circulation visible on satellite images.  However, many of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring in a band that wrapped around the northern portion of the circulation.  Bands in the other parts of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  The circulation was drawing cooler, drier air into the western and southern parts of the subtropical storm.  The wind field around Subtropical Storm Melissa was large and asymmetrical.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 350 miles (565 km) from the center in the northeastern part of Melissa.  Tropical storm force winds only extended out 100 miles (160 km) to the southeast of the center of circulation.

The intensity of Subtropical Storm Melissa may not change much during the next 12 to 24 hours.  Melissa will remain under the middle of the upper level trough during the rest of Friday.  The winds are weak in the middle of the trough and there will not be much vertical wind shear.  Subtropical Storm Melissa will be over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 24°C.  So, there will not be a lot of energy in the upper ocean to support intensification.  The upper level trough will move eastward on Saturday and westerly winds will blow toward the top of Melissa.  The westerly winds will cause significant vertical wind shear, which will start to weaken Subtropical Storm Melissa.

Since the winds are weak in the middle of the upper level trough, Subtropical Storm Melissa is unlikely to move much during the rest of Friday.  Stronger westerly winds will steer Melissa to the east during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Subtropical Storm Melissa is forecast to move away from the U.S. during the weekend.  The large circulation around Melissa will generate large waves which will affect the south coast of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states.  Coastal flooding could occur in some locations.

NHC Upgrades Hurricane Michael to Cat. 5

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Hurricane Michael to Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale after it completed and released its post storm analysis on Friday.  NHC does a post storm analysis of every tropical cyclone in its area of responsibility after the end of the hurricane season.  The maximum sustained wind speed at the time of landfall in northwest Florida of Hurricane Michael, which was given originally as 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h), was increased to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h) after the post storm analysis.  Hurricane Michael becomes one of only four hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. as a Category 5 hurricane.  The other Category 5 hurricanes to hit the U.S. were the Labor Day Hurricane which hit the Florida Keys in 1935, Hurricane Camille which hit Mississippi in 1969 and Hurricane Andrew which hit south Florida in 1992.

The National Hurricane Center prepares a Tropical Storm Report on every tropical cyclone in its area of responsibility and those reports are available on NHC’s web site.  J. L. Beven II, R. Berg and A. Hagen were the authors of the Tropical Cyclone Report on Hurricane Michael.  They explain in the Tropical Cyclone Report how they arrived at the intensity of Hurricane Michael at landfall.  They analyzed aircraft data including flight level winds and SMFR intensities.  They did an analysis of the Dopper wind velocities observed by the WSR-88D radar at Eglin Air Force Base.  They also considered available data on the surface winds and pressures and satellite derived estimates of the intensity of Hurricane Michael.  Based on analysis of all of that information, they concluded that the intensity of Hurricane Michael when it made landfall in northwest Florida was 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h).  Their full Tropical Cyclone Report on Hurricane Michael is available on NHC’s website at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL142018_Michael.pdf.

Hurricane Michael Makes Landfall in Northwest Florida

Powerful Hurricane Michael made landfall in Northwest Florida Wednesday afternoon.  The center of Hurricane Michael officially made landfall between Panama City and Mexico Beach, Florida.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 30.0°N and longitude 85.5°W which put it about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north-northeast at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 180 m.p.h. (290 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 919 mb.

Hurricane Michael intensified rapidly right up to landfall on the Gulf Coast.  The minimum surface pressure decreased from 933 mb to 919 mb in the six hours prior to landfall.  With a maximum sustained wind speed of 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) Hurricane Michael was at the top end of Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Michael is the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on that portion of the Gulf Coast and it was one of the most intense hurricanes to make landfall anywhere along the coast of the U.S. during the month of October.

Even though Hurricane Michael is moving inland, a Hurricane Warning remains in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the Atlantic Coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.  A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Hurricane Michael at the time of landfall.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 185 miles (290 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 33.3.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 16.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.4.  Hurricane Michael will cause regional significant damage.

Tyndall Air Force Base reported a wind gust of 119 m.p.h. (191 km/h).  The Florida State University Panama City Campus reported a wind gust of 116 m.p.h. (187 km/h).   The Panama City Treatment Plant reported a wind gust of 94 m.p.h. (151 km/h).

The coast along the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges.  The winds were pushing water toward the coast in the eastern half of the circulation of Hurricane Michael.  Some locations could have a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters).  There have already been reports of damage due to storm surge.

An upper level trough will steer Hurricane Michael toward the northeast.  Michael will weaken as it moves inland, but it will carry hurricane force winds over northeastern Florida, extreme southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.  The center of Hurricane Michael will pass between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahasse, Florida.  it will move toward Albany, Georgia and then pass south of Macon, Georgia.  Michael will move across South Carolina and North Carolina as a tropical storm before exiting the U.S. near Norfolk, Virginia.

Hurricane Michael will cause widespread power outages and numerous outages are already occurring in northwest Florida.  Michael will also produce locally heavy rain and flash floods could occur as it moves inland.  Wind and rain will disrupt efforts in South Carolina and North Carolina to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

One of the most unusual aspects of Hurricane Michael was that it intensified rapidly right up until it made landfall in northwest Florida.  In the past most major hurricanes weakened while they approached the coast along the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Those hurricanes encountered drier air and more vertical wind shear and they weakened.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the northern Gulf of Mexico is 2°C to 3°C warmer than normal and that may have contributed to the rapid intensification of Hurricane Michael before landfall.  Hurricane Camille in 1969 also intensified right up until it made landfall in Mississippi.  However, Camille occurred in August, while Hurricane Michael occurred in October.

Powerful Hurricane Michael Nearing North Florida

Powerful hurricane Michael was nearing north Florida on Wednesday morning.  Michael intensified rapidly to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale during the overnight hours.  At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 29.0°N and longitude 86.3°W which put it about 90 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 145 m.p.h. (230 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 170 m.p.h. (275 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 933 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border and from Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Atlantic Coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Surf City, North Carolina.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the Mouth of the Pearl River and from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Watch was also in effect from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Hurricane Michael intensified rapidly during the past 12 hours.  An eye with a diameter of 20 miles (32 km) is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  The strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Storms near the core of Hurricane Michael are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping large quantities of mass away from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease rapidly to 933 mb.

Winds to hurricane force extend out about 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) from the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 185 miles (290 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael is 29.9.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 16.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 46.0.  Hurricane Michael is capable of causing regional significant damage.

Hurricane Michael is stronger than any other hurricane to hit north Florida in the historical record.  Michael is similar in intensity to what Hurricane Charley was when Charley hit southwest Florida in 2004.  Hurricane Michael is bigger than Charley was in 2004.

An upper level trough over the Central U.S. and a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean are combining to steer Hurricane Michael toward the north.  The trough will turn Michael toward the northeast when it reaches the coast.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will make landfall near Panama City and Port St. Joe, Florida in about six hours.

Hurricane Michael will bring destructive winds to the coast of north Florida.  The strongest winds will be near the center and east of the center.  Those winds will push water toward the coast and a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) will occur east of where the center of Michael makes landfall.  The coast of the northeast Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges and significant damage will occur.

The center of Hurricane Michael will move between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida.  It will pass near Albany, Georgia and then move south of Macon, Georgia.  The center of Michael could move near Columbia, South Carolina and then it could exit the East Coast of the U.S. near Norfolk, Virginia.

Michael will bring hurricane force winds to northeast Florida, extreme southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.  There will be widespread power outages.  Winds to tropical storm force will occur in South Carolina and North Carolina.  Hurricane Michael will drop locally heavy rain when it moves inland.  The wind and rain will disrupt efforts to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Michael Strengthens to a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Michael strengthened into a major hurricane on Tuesday afternoon.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 26.0°N and longitude 86.4°W which put it about 290 miles (470 km) south of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 957 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border, from Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida and from Fernandina Beach, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina on the Atlantic Coast.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the Mouth of the Pearl River, from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida and from South Santee, River South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

The inner core of Hurricane Michael tightened on Tuesday afternoon.  The diameter of the eye decreased from 30 miles (50 km) to 22 miles (35 km).  The ring of thunderstorms around the eye tightened around the smaller eye and the strongest winds were closer to the center of circulation.  Storms around the core of Michael were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease from 965 mb to 957 mb during the past six hours.

Winds to hurricane force extend out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 170 miles (280 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael is 22.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 14.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 36.7.  Hurricane Michael is capable of causing regional major damage.

Hurricane Michael will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 12 to 18 hours.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough over the Central U.S. is producing westerly winds which are blowing toward the top of Hurricane Michael, but those winds are not causing enough vertical wind shear to prevent intensification.  Hurricane Michael could intensify to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale before it makes landfall.

Hurricane Michael is moving between a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean and the upper level trough over the Central U.S.  Those two weather systems are steering Michael toward the north and that general motion is expected to continue for another 12 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will make landfall near Panama City and Port St. Joe, Florida early on Wednesday afternoon.  The upper level trough will steer Michael more toward the northeast after it makes landfall.  The center of Michael is likely to move between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida and it could pass near Albany, Georgia.

Hurricane Michael will bring strong winds to northwest Florida, extreme southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.  There will be wind damage and widespread power outages could occur.  The coast of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges.  Hurricane Michael will produce a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) at some points along the coast.  Michael will drop locally heavy rain.  Although Hurricane Michael will weaken when it moves inland, it will bring gusty winds and heavy rain to South Carolina and North Carolina.  Hurricane Michael will hinder efforts in those states to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

Michael Strengthens Into a Hurricane, Watches Issued for Gulf Coast

Former Tropical Storm Michael strengthened into a hurricane on Monday morning and Watches were issued for portions of the Gulf Coast.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 21.2°N and longitude 84.9°W which put it about 50 miles (80 km) south of the western end of Cuba.  Michael was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border and from Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island, Florida.  A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cuban province of Isle of Youth and for the portion of the coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.

Hurricane Michael continued to organize quickly.  A circular eye with a diameter of about 30 miles (50 km) was forming at the center of Michael.  A ring of strong thunderstorms was wrapping around the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were wrapping around the core of Hurricane Michael.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 30 miles (50 km) primarily to the northeast of the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 175 miles (280 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael was 10.4.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 6.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 17.2.

Hurricane Michael will move into an environment that will become increasingly favorable for intensification.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico was producing westerly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing some vertical wind shear.  However, the upper level trough will move westward away from Hurricane Michael and the wind shear will decrease.  Hurricane Michael will continue to strengthen when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico and it could intensify rapidly once the eye and eyewall are fully formed.  Hurricane Michael is likely to strengthen into a major hurricane.

Hurricane Michael will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system centered over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Michael in a northerly direction during the next several days.  It will get bigger and stronger during the next 48 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will approach the northeast coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.  It is likely to be a major hurricane at that time.  Hurricane Michael has the potential to cause a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) at the coast.  It will bring strong winds which could cause regional major damage and result in significant power outages.  Locally heavy rain could cause flooding in some locations.

Tropical Storm Michael Strengthens East of Yucatan

Tropical Storm Michael strengthened east of the Yucatan peninsula on Sunday.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located at latitude 19.9°N and longitude 85.4°W which put it about 105 miles (170 km) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.  Michael was moving toward the north at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the portion of the coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Michael is still organizing and the distribution of thunderstorms is asymmetrical.  Most of the thunderstorms are occurring in bands in the eastern half of the circulation.  A new center of circulation formed on Sunday afternoon near those thunderstorms.  Many of the rainbands in the western half of Tropical Storm Michael contain primarily showers and lower clouds.  One outer rainband in the southwestern periphery of the circulation does contain numerous thunderstorms.  The strongest winds are occurring in the rainbands on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Michael.  The winds are weaker on the western side of the circulation.  Storms on the eastern side of Michael are generating some upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical storm and was allowing the surface pressure to decrease.

An upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico is producing westerly winds which are blowing across the top of Tropical Storm Michael.  Those winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear which was slowing the rate of intensification, but the shear is not strong enough to prevent Michael from strengthening.  The wind shear is probably the reason for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.  The upper level trough will move westward during the next few days and the upper level winds will weaken.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is warmer than 30°C.  Tropical Storm Michael will strengthen slowly during the next 24 hours.  However, it will intensify more rapidly on Tuesday when the upper level winds weaken.  Michael will strengthen into a hurricane when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico and it could intensify into a major hurricane.

Tropical Storm Michael has been moving slowly while the circulation organizes and the center reforms.  Michael will move around the southwestern part of the subtropical high pressure system over the western North Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Michael in a northward direction during the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Michael will pass between the western end of Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula on Monday.  Michael could approach northern Florida by Wednesday.  It will be a hurricane at that time and it could be a major hurricane.  Michael could produce strong winds, a significant storm surge and drop heavy rain when it reaches the coast.

Tropical Storm Maria Brings Gusty Winds, Big Waves to Outer Banks

Tropical Storm Maria brought gusty winds and big waves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Tuesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located at latitude 34.9°N and longitude 72.9°W which put it about 150 miles (240 km) east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Maria was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 975 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Bogue Inlet, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Most of the showers and thunderstorms are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation of Tropical Storm Maria.  The strongest winds are also occurring in the eastern half of Maria.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 230 miles (370 km) east of the center of circulation and about 185 miles (295 km) to the west of the center.  A NOAA buoy (41025) at Diamond Shoals was reporting sustained winds to near tropical storm force.  The large size and slow movement of Tropical Storm Maria were causing large waves that were reaching the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Tropical Storm Maria is moving around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Maria slowly toward the north on Wednesday.  An upper level trough approaching the eastern U.S. will start to steer Maria toward the east on Thursday.  The upper level trough will push Tropical Storm Maria away from the U.S. on Friday.  When Maria moves over cooler water it will make a transition to an extratropical cyclone.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, small Hurricane Lee neared major hurricane intensity.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Lee was located at latitude 30.0°N and longitude 55.5°W which put it about 570 miles (920 km) east-southeast of Bermuda.  Lee was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 971 mb.

Hurricane Lee has a small, well organized circulation.  There is a small eye at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving close to the core of Hurricane Lee.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center.

Hurricane Lee could intensify into a major hurricane on Wednesday.  Lee will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level winds will be weak on Wednesday and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Wind shear will increase later in the week when the upper level trough approaching the eastern U.S. gets closer to Hurricane Lee.

Tropical Storm Maria Spins Up Quickly, Watches Issued for Leeward Islands

Tropical Storm Maria spun up quickly on Saturday and Watches were issued for the Northern Leeward Islands.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 52.6°W which put it about 620 miles (1000 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Maria was moving toward the west at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominca, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The circulation of Tropical Storm Maria organized quickly on Saturday.  A primary rainband wrapped most of the way around the center of circulation.  Thunderstorms in the core of the circulation generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical storm.  Numerous additional bands of showers and thunderstorms developed outside the core of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Maria will move through and environment that will be favorable for intensification.  Maria will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Maria could intensify rapidly during the next day or two.  Maria is likely to become a hurricane on Sunday.  Maria could strengthen into a major hurricane early next week.

The subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean has been steering Tropical Storm Maria quickly toward the west.  The ridge is forecast to weaken slightly during the next several days and Tropical Storm Maria will move more toward the west-northwest.  Maria could reach the northern Leeward Islands within 48 hours.  Maria could be near Puerto Rico in about three days.  Maria will move over some of the same places that were seriously damaged by Hurricane Irma.  Maria could severely impact recovery efforts in that region.

Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Hurricane Jose moved slowly toward the north southeast of the U.S. and Tropical Storm Lee formed over the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 28.9°N and longitude 71.9°W which put it about 485 miles (780 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Jose was moving toward the north at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Lee was located at latitude 12.6°N and longitude 34.2°W which put it about 720 miles (1160 km) west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Lee was moving toward the west at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.