Tag Archives: Georgia

System Could Bring Heavy Rain to Southeast U.S.

A weather system over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico could bring heavy rain to the southeastern U.S. this week.  An upper level low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico could transfer enough kinetic energy down to the lower troposphere to spin up a low at the surface.  Air flowing around the eastern side of the low is contributing to upper level divergence over Florida.  The divergence enhanced rising motion over Florida and rain fell over parts of the southern and central portions of that state.

The weather system is forecast to move slowly northward during the next several days.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico are 24°C to 26°C.  There is enough energy in the upper levels of the water to support the formation of a tropical cyclone.  The upper level low will create southerly winds which will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The shear will inhibit development, although those winds could contribute to upper level divergence to the east of the weather system.  Upper level divergence could allow the surface pressure to decrease and a low pressure system could form at the surface.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special Tropical Weather Outlook on Sunday afternoon on the weather system.  NHC indicated the probability was 40% that a tropical or subtropical cyclone could form during the next five days.

Guidance from numerical models suggest that the weather system will move slowly northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next few days.  Counterclockwise rotation around the low will transport moist air northward on the eastern side of the low.  The moist air combined with upper level divergence will create the potential for locally heavy rainfall over the southeastern U.S.  Heavy rain could result in floods in some locations.

System to Bring Wind, Rain to Bahamas and South Florida

A complex weather system near the Bahamas is forecast to move westward and it will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of the Bahamas and South Florida during the weekend.  The circulation is strongest in the middle and upper troposphere.  An upper level low is centered near the Bahamas.  Showers and thunderstorms are occurring north and east of the upper low.  There is not a distinct center of circulation in the lower troposphere or at the surface.  There is a small upper level ridge to the east of the upper low and the ridge is producing some upper level divergence which is pumping mass away to the east of the system.

The system will move through an environment that is only marginally favorable for the development of a tropical cyclone.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 26°C.  So, there is potentially enough energy in the upper ocean to support the development of a minimal tropical cyclone.  The upper low and the ridge to the east are southerly winds near the Bahamas and westerly winds southeast of the Bahamas.  Those winds are causing strong vertical wind shear.  The winds are weaker near the center of the upper low, but there are no thunderstorms in that region at the current time.  If a surface low were to develop under the center of the upper low, then there would be the possibility of some slow development.  A second, possible scenario is that a subtropical cyclone develops north and east of the upper low where the showers and thunderstorms are forming.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system at 10:45 a.m. EDT on Friday.  NHC indicated that “no significant development” is expected and it gives a 0% probability of the formation of a tropical cyclone.

The upper level low is forecast to move south-southwest over the northwestern Caribbean Sea during the next 72 hours.  The surface and lower parts of the system are forecast to move across the Bahamas toward South Florida during the weekend.  Since the showers and thunderstorms are occurring north and east of the upper low, this could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of the Bahamas and South Florida during the weekend.  Some of the humid air on the northeastern periphery of the system could be pulled toward the Carolinas ahead of an approaching cold front.  The moist air could enhance rainfall in eastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina when the cold front moves through those places and lifts the air.

Hurricane Nate Brings Gusty Winds and Surge to Mississippi Coast

Hurricane Nate brought gusty winds, heavy rain and a storm surge to the coast of Mississippi on Saturday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Nate was located at latitude 29.9°N and longitude 89.1°W which put it about 35 miles (60 km) south-southwest of Biloxi, Mississippi.  Nate was moving toward the north at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (140 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 983 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River, for New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain and for the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida.

Some drier air wrapped into the western side of Hurricane Nate on Saturday afternoon.  In addition an upper level trough approaching Nate from the west produced southwesterly winds which caused vertical wind shear.  The drier air and shear caused the circulation of Hurricane Nate to become asymmetrical.  The stronger winds are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  The winds are weaker in the western side of the hurricane.  The bands of showers and thunderstorms are also occurring in the eastern half of Hurricane Nate.  Very little rain was falling on the western side of the hurricane.

The partial eyewall north of the center of Hurricane Nate was moving over the coast of Mississippi from Pascagoula to Gulfport.  Strong gusty winds and heavy rain were falling on that section of the coast.  Winds blowing water toward the coast were pushing a storm surge onto the coast.  A water level gauge at a NOAA laboratory in Pascagoula, Mississippi was reporting a storm surge of 6.75 feet (2.06 meters).  The highest surges were occurring in Mississippi, but there were also storm surges on the coast of Alabama and Florida.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were dropping heavy rain over southeastern Mississippi, southwestern and central Alabama and northwestern Florida.  Brief tornadoes spun up in some of the thunderstorms on Saturday.

Hurricane Nate will move inland over southeastern Mississippi during the overnight hours.  Nate will weaken after it moves inland, but it will continue to bring gusty winds as it spins down.  There is a strong flow of moist air from the south and heavy rain will continue to fall east of the track of Hurricane Nate.  Places west of the track will experience weaker winds and will receive little rain.  Locations west of a line from New Orleans to Hattiesburg to Meridian,  Mississippi could see little minimal impacts from Nate.  Nate will cross over west central Alabama on Sunday morning.  It will continue to move toward the north-northeast and the remnants of Nate could reach eastern Tennessee on Sunday night.  Areas of heavy rain will fall over northwestern Florida, Alabama, northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.  Fresh water flooding could occur in some of those areas.  Tornadoes could develop in the rainbands again on Sunday afternoon.

Hurricane Jose Turns Back Toward U.S.

Hurricane Jose completed the long slow clockwise loop it made this week over the Atlantic Ocean and it turned back toward the U.S.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 27.1°N and longitude 70.3°W which put it about 640 miles (1025 km) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Jose was moving toward the northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 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 983 mb.

An eye appeared to be forming at the center of Hurricane Jose as the primary rainband wrapped around the eastern and northern portions of the developing eye.  The strongest winds were occurring in that rainband.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the eastern half of the circulation.  There were fewer showers and thunderstorms in the western half of the circulation.

Hurricane Jose is moving over the part of the Atlantic Ocean that the hurricane traversed several days ago.  So, Jose is moving over cooler water that it mixed to the surface when it moved over the area the first time.  Hurricane Jose will soon move northwest of its previous track and it will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Jose will strengthen during the weekend and it could intensify rapidly once the eye and eyewall are fully formed.

After a few days of weak steering currents the large subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean has started to steer Hurricane Jose toward the northwest.  A general northwesterly motion is forecast to continue for another 24 to 36 hours.  At that time Jose will reach the western end of the high and it will turn more toward the north.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Jose could be near the Outer Banks of North Carolina in two or three days.  It is still too early to know if the center of Hurricane Jose will move into the U.S.

Tropical Storm Irma Still Bringing Gusty Winds and Storm Surges to Southeast U.S.

Tropical Storm Irma was still bringing gusty winds, locally heavy rain and storm surges to parts of the Southeastern U.S. on Monday afternoon.  Gusty winds were blowing down trees and bringing down power lines in parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  Locally heavy rainfall resulted in the issuance of Flood Watches and Warnings for portions of those states.  Strong winds were blowing water toward the coast in northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  Storm surges caused flooding in Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia.  The water level at Charleston, South Carolina was higher than it was during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Irma was located at latitude 31.5°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 10 miles (15 km) east of Albany, Georgia.  Irma was moving toward the north-northwest at 17 m.p.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 985 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning remained in effect for the portion of the coast from Altamaha Sound to South Santee River.

The structure of Tropical Storm Irma evolved as it moved further inland.  Drier air wrapped around the  western side of the circulation.  Convergence between a large surface high north of Irma and the tropical storm produced heavy rain northeast of the center of circulation.  The heaviest rain fell over Georgia, South Carolina and the western half of North Carolina.  The northern edge of the rain shield was moving over Tennessee and southeast Kentucky.  The pressure difference between the high and Irma also generated strong winds in the eastern half of Irma’s circulation.  Those strong winds pushed water toward the coast in northern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  The wind caused storm surges of up to 10 feet (3 meters) in some locations.  Water was reported in parts of downtown Jacksonville, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

Tropical Storm Irma will continue to move toward the north-northwest and weaken.  The circulation of Irma is very large, and it will take a few more days to spin completely.  There could be stronger winds in the high elevations of Appalachian Mountains.  Locally heavy rain could also create the potential for floods in some valleys.  The storm surges along the coast should gradually subside as the wind speeds decrease.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Jose was moving northward east of the Bahamas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 31.5°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 555 miles (895 km) east of Nassau, Bahamas.  Jose was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.  Hurricane Jose is forecast to make a slow clockwise loop this week.  On it anticipated track Hurricane Jose could still be east of the Bahamas at the end of the week.

Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall on Marco Island, Florida

The center of Hurricane Irma made landfall on the coast at Marco Island, Florida on Sunday afternoon.  The Marco Island Emergency Operations Center reported a wind gust to 135 m.p.h. (217 km/h) when the northern portion of the eyewall passed over.  The airport at Naples, Florida reported sustained winds to 88 m.p.h. (142 km/h) and wind gusts to 135 m.p.h. (217 km/h).

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 26.2°N and longitude 81.8°W which put it about 5 miles (10 km) north of Naples, Florida.  Irma was moving toward the north at 14 m.p.h. (22 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 938 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach to Indian Pass, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Edisto Beach, South Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to the South Santee River, South Carolina and from Indian Pass, Florida to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.

The intensity of Hurricane Irma decreased gradually on Sunday.  The hurricane began to pull in some drier air over the southeastern U.S. into the west side of the circulation.  In addition an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. caused an increase in the vertical wind shear.  The drier air and increased shear also produced a more asymmetrical wind field around Hurricane Irma.  The area of stronger winds was much larger in the eastern half of the circulation than it was on the western half of the circulation.  Winds to hurricane force extended out 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 220 miles (350 km) from the center.

Hurricane Irma will gradually weaken as it moves northward over Florida.  Irma is a large hurricane and it will spin down slowly.  Hurricane Irma will move steadily northward.  Irma is forecast to still be a hurricane when the center moves near Tampa and Central Florida.  Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread significant wind damage.  Isolated tornadoes could develop in thunderstorms in the outer rainbands.  Hurricane Irma will produce storm surges over a long section of the coast.  There was not much surge on the west coast of Florida on Sunday afternoon, because the winds were blowing the water away from the coast.  However, after the center moves north of an area, the wind will blow from the opposite direction and the water will rise quickly at the coast.  A station on the coast near Naples, Florida reported a water rise of six feet (two meters) in less than two hours after the center of Hurricane passed to the east.  Easterly winds on the eastern fringe of Hurricane Irma were blowing the water toward the coast and there were water rises from Miami, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina.  Strong southwesterly winds were still causing storm surges in the Florida Keys.  Hurricane Irma will also drop heavy rain over a prolonged period and it could cause freshwater flooding of rivers and streams.

Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Hurricane Jose moved away from the northern Leeward Islands on Sunday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT om Sunday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 22.8°N and longitude 66.9°W which put it about 285 miles (455 km) east-northeast of Grand Turk Island.  Jose was moving toward northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 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).  Hurricane Jose is forecast to stall over the tropical Atlantic east of the Bahamas and it could make a long slow loop during the next week.

Hurricane Irma Batters Florida Keys

Hurricane Irma battered the Florida Keys on Sunday morning.  At 9:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 24.5°N and longitude 81.5°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) east-northeast of Key West, Florida.  Irma was moving toward the north-northwest at 8 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h).  Hurricane Irma was a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  The minimum surface pressure was 929 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach to Indian Pass, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee.   A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Edisto Beach, South Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach to South Santee River, South Carolina and from Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of La Habana and Matanzas.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.

An outer eyewall started to wrap around the original eye of Hurricane Irma, but Irma did not go through an eyewall repacement cycle.  The original eyewall remained intact and the strongest winds were occurring in that eyewall.  The uncompleted formation of an outer eyewall did result in an increase in the size of Hurricane Irma.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out over 200 miles (320 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Irma was 25.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 24.2 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.3.  Hurricane Irma is not quite as strong as Hurricane Charley was when Charley hit southwest Florida.  However, Hurricane Irma is much bigger than Charley was.  Hurricane Irma is stronger than Hurricane Wilma was when Wilma hit south Florida in 2005.  Irma is a little smaller than Wilma was.

Carysfort Reef Light near Key Largo reported a wind gust of 93 m.p.h. (150 km/h).  Hurricane Irma is causing winds to hurricane force over much of the Florida Keys.  Winds to tropical storm force are occurring in areas around Miami, Florida.

Hurricane Irma has turned toward the north.  The core of Hurricane Irma could make a landfall on the southwest coast of Florida between Everglades City and Naples, Florida later this afternoon.  Hurricane Irma could move northward near the west coast of Florida.  The center of Hurricane Irma could reach the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and Central Florida on Sunday night.

Hurricane Irma is large and dangerous hurricane.  It is capable of causing widespread extensive damage.  There are likely to be widespread power outages.  Irma will also generate a storm surge of 15 feet (5 meters) in some locations.  Irma will drop locally heavy rain and flooding could occur in some places.

Hurricane Irma Grinds Along Cuba’s North Coast

Hurricane Irma ground its way along the northern coast of Cuba on Saturday morning.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 23.1°N and longitude 80.2°W which put it about 145 miles (235 km) southeast of Key West, Florida.  Irma was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 125 m.p.h. (205 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 941 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Aucilla River to Fernandina Beach, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee.  Hurricane Watches are in effect for the portions of the coast from Auculla River to Indian Pass, Florida and from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Edisto Beach, South Carolina.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for the portions of the coast from Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County line and from Edisto Beach to South Santee River, South Carolina.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, La Habana.  A Hurricane Warning was in effect for Andros Island, Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.  A Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Holguin and Las Tunas.

Hurricane Irma weakened on Saturday morning as the center moved along the northern coast of Cuba.  However, the core of Hurricane Irma remained intact.  There was an eye at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye.  Numerous spiral bands were revolving around the core of Hurricane Irma.  Thunderstorms in the core of Irma were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the center of the hurricane.

Hurricane Irma is a large hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 70 miles (110 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 185 miles (295 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Irma was 23.6.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 23.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 47.2.  Those indices indicate Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread major damage.

Hurricane Irma will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 12 to 18 hours.  Irma will over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 31°C.  The upper level winds are relatively weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Irma is likely to intensify back to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale and it could reach Category 5.  Hurricane Irma will move closer to an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. on Sunday.  Southerly winds on the eastern side of the trough will increase the vertical wind shear and Hurricane Irma will start to weaken.

Hurricane Irma is moving around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  The subtropical high is steering Hurricane Irma toward the west-northwest.  Hurricane Irma will turn more toward the north-northwest when it reaches the western end of the high.  On its anticipated track the core of Hurricane Irma will move away from Cuba.  The center of Hurricane Irma will be near the Florida Keys by early Sunday morning.  Hurricane Irma could be near the southwest coast of Florida by Sunday afternoon.

Hurricane Irma will be capable of causing widespread extensive damage.  Winds blowing water toward the coast will generate significant storms surges.  Hurricane force winds will cause widespread damage as the Hurricane Irma moves near the west coast of Florida.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean Hurricane Jose was moving near the northern Leeward Islands.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 18.8°N and longitude 61.9°W which put it about 95 miles (155 km) east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.  Jose was moving toward the northwest at 14 m.p.h. (23 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 145 m.p.h. (230 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 175 m.p.h. (285 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 945 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Barbuda, Anguilla, Sint Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

The core of Hurricane Jose and the strongest winds will move northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.  The southern part of the circulation will bring gusty winds which will hamper recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma.  Jose is forecast to stall over the Atlantic and there is much uncertainty about the ultimate long term track.

The remnants of Hurricane Katia were raining themselves out over eastern Mexico.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Depression Katia was located at latitude 20.0°N and longitude 97.9°W which put it about 125 miles (200 km) west-northwest of Veracruz, Mexico.  Katia was moving toward the west-southwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 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 1004 mb.

Hurricane Irma Batters Bahamas, Jose Threatens Leewards, Katia Nears Mexico

The tropical Atlantic Ocean continued to be very active on Friday.  Destructive Hurricane Irma battered the Southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.  Powerful Hurricane Jose threatened the northern Leeward Islands only 48 hours after Hurricane Irma caused significant damage to them.  Hurricane Katia neared a landfall on the coast of Mexico between Tampico and Veracruz.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 22.1°N and longitude 76.5°W which put it about 345 miles (555 km) southeast of Miami, Florida.  Irma was moving toward the west at 12 m.p.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 925 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Anna Maria Island to Sebastian Inlet, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from Anna Maria Island to the Suwannee River and from Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia Count line.  A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara.  Hurricane Warnings were in effect for the northwestern Bahamas including the Abacos, Andros island, Berry Island, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island and New Providence.  Hurricane Warnings were in effect for the central Bahamas including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.  Hurricane Warnings were in effect for the southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Long Cay, Crooked Island, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands.

Hurricane Watches were in effect for the Cuba provinces of Matanzas, Holguin, Las Tunas and Guantanamo.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cuban provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas and Guantamo.

Hurricane Irma completed an eyewall replacement cycle on Friday morning.  After the inner eyewall dissipated the circulation rapidly concentrated on the outer eyewall.  The eyewall replacement cycle caused some weakening of Hurricane Irma but it remained a powerful Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  The eyewall replacement cycle resulted in an increase in the size of the circulation of Hurricane Irma.  Winds to hurricane force now extend out about 70 miles (110 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out almost 185 miles (295 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Irma is 33.3.  The Hurricane Size Index is 23.0 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index is 56.3.  Hurricane Irma is stronger, but a little smaller than Hurricane Wilma was when Wilma made landfall in south Florida in 2005.

Hurricane Irma is moving through a very favorable environment.  Irma is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Part of the southern side of the circulation is passing over Cuba, but the core of Hurricane Wilma is remaining over water.  Hurricane Irma should remain a very powerful hurricane during the next 36 hours.

Hurricane Irma is moving near the western end of a large subtropical high that has been steering the hurricane toward the west.  Irma started to move a little more slowly on Friday afternoon as it approached the end of the high.  Hurricane Irma is forecast to continue to move west-northwest for another 12 to 24 hours.  When Hurricane Irma reaches the end of the high, it will start moving toward the north.  On its anticipated track the core of Hurricane Irma will pass north of the north coast of Cuba on Saturday.  Hurricane Irma is forecast to reach the Florida Keys on Saturday night.

Hurricane Irma is a large and dangerous hurricane.  Irma is capable of causing widespread extensive damage.  Hurricane Irma’s winds will be very destructive and they could cause widespread power outages in Florida.  There will be a significant storm surge in the Florida Keys and on both the east and west coast of Florida.

Hurricane Jose intensified rapidly on Friday to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Jose now threatens to bring very strong winds to places devastated by Hurricane Irma earlier this week.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 16.6°N and longitude 58.3°W which put it about 335 miles (540 km) east of the Leeward Islands.  Jose was moving toward the west-northwest at 17 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 180 m.p.h. (290 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 940 mb.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Barthelemy, Sint Maarten and St. Martin.  A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Antigua.  Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Antigua, Saba and St. Eustatius.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John.

Hurricane Jose has a small, well organized circulation.  There is a clear eye at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strong winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Hurricane Jose is much smaller than Hurricane Irma.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 35 miles (55 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 140 miles (225 km) from the center.

Upper level divergence from Hurricane Irma is causing some vertical wind shear over Hurricane Jose, but the shear did not prevent Jose from intensifying into a major hurricane.  Hurricane Jose is forecast to remain a major hurricane for several more days.  The same subtropical high steering Hurricane Irma is also steering Jose toward the west north-west.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Jose could reach the northern Leeward Islands late on Saturday.  Some of those islands suffered widespread extensive damage from Hurricane Irma and a direct hit by Jose would be devastating.  Even if the core of Hurricane Jose moves just north of those islands, the strong winds will serious affect efforts to recover from Hurricane Irma.

After being nearly stationary over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico for several days, Hurricane Katia began to move toward the coast of Mexico on Friday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Katia was located near latitude 21.0°N and longitude 96.5°W which put it about 125 miles (225 km) north of Veracruz, Mexico.  Katia was moving toward the west-southwest at 7 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (205 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 972 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Cabo Rojo to Laguna Verde, Mexico.

Hurricane Katia is a small hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center.  Winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 70 miles (110 km) from the center.

A mid-level ridge over the western Gulf of Mexico is steering Hurricane Katia toward the west-southwest.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Katia will make landfall on the coast of Mexico between Tampico and Veracruz on Friday night.  The center is likely to make landfall near Tecolutla.  Although the small size of Katia’s circulation will limit the wind damage, the hurricane will cause a significant storm surge along the portion of the coast where the center makes landfall.  Katia will also produce heavy rain and a chance for flash floods as it moves inland and dissipates.

Powerful Hurricane Irma Approaches Bahamas, Watches Issued for Florida

Powerful Hurricane Irma move north of the Dominican Republic on its approach to the Bahamas on Thursday morning.  Hurricane Watches were issued for south Florida because of the potential impact of Hurricane Irma.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 20.4°N and longitude 69.7°W which put it about 120 miles (190 km) southeast of Grand Turk Island and about 785 miles (1265 km) east-southeast of Miami, Florida.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 175 m.p.h. (280 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 200 m.p.h. (320 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 921 mb.

Hurricane Warnings were in effect for the portion of the coast from Cabo Engano, Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, the southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands, the central Bahamas including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, the northwestern Bahamas including the Abacos, Andros Island, Berry Island, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island and New Providence.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Jupiter Inlet to Bonita Beach, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee and from Matanzas province to Guantanamo province in Cuba.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Cabo Engano, Dominican Republic to the southern border with Haiti, from Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port Au Prince, Haiti and for the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin and Las Tunas.

Hurricane Irma remains a large and dangerous hurricane.  Irma weakened slightly on Thursday morning, but it still was a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Irma has a large circular eye at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 185 miles (305 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Irma is 40.4.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 19.2 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 59.6.  Those indices indicate that Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread catastrophic damage.

Hurricane Irma will remain in a favorable environment for the next several days.  Irma will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear during the next 24 to 36 hours.  When Irma gets farther north it will be near the southern end of a large upper level trough over the eastern U.S.  The trough will produce southeasterly winds which will increase the shear somewhat.  Hurricane Irma will remain a large dangerous hurricane.

Hurricane Irma is moving around the western end of a subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high is steering Irma toward the west-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue for another 36 to 48 hours.  The effects of the upper level trough are expected to turn Irma toward the north during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Irma will reach the Turks and Caicos on Thursday night.  Irma will move across the southeastern Bahamas on Friday and it could be north of Cuba by Saturday morning.  Hurricane Irma could reach southern Florida by Sunday morning.

Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread catastrophic damage.  Irma will generate storm surges as high as 19 feet (6 meters) when it passes over the Bahamas.  Irma will cause widespread wind damage and locally heavy rain could cause flash floods.

The destructive core of Hurricane Irma moved over Barbuda, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.  There are reports of widespread damage on those islands.  Other nearby islands my have also suffered significant damage.

Hurricane Jose is following in the wake of Hurricane Irma and Watches have been issued for some of the northern Leeward Islands.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 14.9°N and longitude 50.6°W which put it about 715 miles (1155 km) east of the Leeward Islands.  Jose was moving toward the west-northwest at 18 m.p.h. (30 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (150 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 986 mb.

Hurricane Watches have been issued for Antigua and Barbuda.  Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis.

Hurricane Jose is moving through a favorable environment of warm Sea Surface Temperatures and little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Jose is forecast to intensify into a major hurricane.  The same subtropical high steering Hurricane Irma is also steering Hurricane Jose.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Jose could reach the northern Leeward Islands on Saturday.  It could be a major hurricane at that time.  If Hurricane Jose moves over some of the same places hit by Hurricane Irma it will serious impede efforts to recover from Irma.

Hurricane Katia is threatening parts of Mexico.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Katia was located at latitude 21.6°N and longitude 94.6°W which put it about 215 miles (345 km) east of Tampico, Mexico.  Katia was stationary.  the maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155km/h)  The minimum surface pressure was 980 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Cabo Rojo to Laguna Verde, Mexico.