Tag Archives: Leeward Islands

Hurricane Maria Strengthens to Cat. 5 Near Leeward Islands

Hurricane Maria quickly strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Monday.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Maria was located at latitude 15.3°N and longitude 61.1°W which put it about 15 miles (25 km) east-southeast of Dominica.  Maria was moving toward the west-northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 190 m.p.h. (305 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 925 mb.

Hurricane Warnings were in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Nevis, Martinique, Montserrat, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy and the portion of the coast from Isla Saona to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Anguilla, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for St. Vincent, the Grenadines and the portion of the coast from Puerto Plata to the Haiti/Dominican Republic border.

Hurricane Maria has a tight compact circulation.  There is a small eye with a diameter of 10 miles (16 km) at the center of circulation.  The eye is surround by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Maria.  The overall circulation of Hurricane Maria is small.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 125 miles (200 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Maria is 35.0.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 9.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 44.1.

Hurricane Maria will continue to move through an environment very favorable for strong hurricanes.  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.  Hurricane Maria could strengthen further.  Since the eye of Hurricane Maria is so small, it would be easy for a rainband to wrap around the eye.  If that happens, then an eyewall replacement cycle could begin and the cycle could result in a temporary weakening of the hurricane.

Hurricane Maria is being steered to the west-northwest by the subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  That high is forecast to weaken and Maria is likely to move more toward the northwest during the next several days.  On its anticipate track the center of Hurricane Maria will pass very close to Dominica and Guadeloupe on Monday night.  Maria could pass near Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday.  It could be near the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday night and Hurricane Maria will approach Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

Hurricane Maria is a small but very dangerous hurricane.  The winds in the core of Hurricane Maria are capable of causing extensive damage.  In addition, heavy rain falling over steep terrain will likely produce flash floods.  Hurricane Maria will affect some of the same islands that were severely damaged by Hurricane Irma.  Maria will significantly hamper efforts in some places to recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Jose has begun the transition to an extratropical cyclone as it moves northward off the east coast of the U.S.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 34.8°N and longitude 71.1°W which put it about 445 miles (720 km) south of Nantucket, Massachusetts.  Jose was moving toward the north 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 977 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Hull, Massachusetts including Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portion of the coast of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Port Jefferson and from New Haven, Connecticut to Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

The structure of Hurricane Jose began to change on Monday from the more circular shape of a purely tropical hurricane to an asymmetrical shape seen more commonly in extratropical cyclones.  Drier air wrapped around the western and southern sides of the circulation.  Most of the strong thunderstorms and heavy rain were occurring in the northern half of Jose.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) north of the center, but there were few if any winds to hurricane force south of the center.  The circulation of Hurricane Jose is much larger than the circulation of Hurricane Maria.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 320 miles (515 km) from the center of Jose.

The Hurricane Intensity Index for Hurricane Jose was 10.4.  The Hurricane Size Index for Jose was 15.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index was 26.0.

Hurricane Jose will move into an environment that is unfavorable for hurricanes on Tuesday.  Jose will stay over warm Sea Surface Temperatures until it moves north of the Gulf Stream.  Once Jose moves north of latitude 38°N, it will start to move over cooler water.  An upper level trough over the eastern U.S. is producing southerly winds which are causing moderate vertical wind shear over Jose.  Cooler water and moderate shear would normally cause a hurricane to weaken.  However, as Hurricane Jose makes the transition to an extratropical cyclone, it will start to be powered by the temperature difference between warm and cold air.  The transition to an extratropical cyclone can sometimes produce a stronger storm when it occurs.

Hurricane Jose is moving around the western end of the subtropical high.  Another surface high pressure system is forecast to move north of Jose when the hurricane approaches the northeastern U.S.  The second high will block the northward motion and it will force Hurricane Jose to move toward the east.  Some models are forecasting that Jose could make a clockwise loop southeast of Cape Cod.  Hurricane Jose could bring gusty winds and high waves to sections of the coast in the northeastern U.S. during the next few days.

Maria Becomes a Hurricane, Jose Prompts Watches for Northeast U.S.

A reconnaissance plane found that Tropical Storm Maria had intensified into a hurricane as it moved toward the Leeward Islands on Sunday afternoon.  At the same time Hurricane Jose moved farther north and Tropical Storm Watches were issued for the coast of the northeastern U.S.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Maria was located at latitude 13.8°N and longitude 57.5°W which put it about 275 miles (445 km) east-southeast of Dominica.  Maria was moving toward the west-northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 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. (150 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

Hurricane Warnings were in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Islands, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, and Anguilla.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Martinique, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbuda, Saba, and St. Eustatius.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A reconnaissance plane found sustained winds to hurricane force when it investigated Hurricane Maria on Sunday afternoon.  The plane reported a circular eye with a diameter of 32 miles (52 km) at the center of circulation.  The eye was surrounded by an almost complete ring of thunderstorms.  The ring was broken south of the center.  The strongest winds wind occurring in that ring of thunderstorms.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms were developing in the eastern half of the circulation.  There were fewer showers and thunderstorms in the western half of Maria.  Hurricane Maria was generating upper level divergence which was pumping away mass and allowing the surface pressure to decrease.

Hurricane Maria will move through an environment that will be favorable for intensification.  Maria will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level low over Caribbean Sea is causing southern winds which are blowing near the eastern side of Hurricane Maria.  Those winds do not appear to be causing significant vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Maria is likely to continue to intensify as it moves toward the Leeward Islands.  Maria could intensify rapidly once a fully closed eye develops.

Hurricane Maria is being steered toward the west-northwest by the subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Maria could reach the Leeward Islands by later on Monday.  Maria could be near Puerto Rico by Wednesday.  Hurricane Maria will affect some of the same islands damaged by Hurricane Irma a few days ago.  Strong winds and heavy rain will significantly impact recovery efforts in those areas.

A reconnaissance plane also found that Hurricane Jose was stronger on Sunday afternoon.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 31.5°N and longitude 71.8°W which put it about 335 miles (535 km) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Jose was moving toward the north at 9 m.p.h. (15 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 967 mb.

Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for the portions of the coast from Fenwick Island, Delaware to Sandy Hook, New Jersey and from East Rockaway Inlet, New York to Plymouth, Massachusetts including Long Island Sound, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Hurricane Jose strengthened on Sunday as it moved over water where the Sea Surface Temperature was near 29°C.  An eye appeared at times on visible satellite imagery.  The circulation of Hurricane Jose increased in size which often happens when hurricanes move north out of the tropics.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 290 miles (470 km) from the center.

Hurricane Jose will move through an environment which will be marginal for further intensification.  Jose will move over water which is warm enough to support intensification.  However, an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. is producing southerly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds are producing strong vertical wind shear and they could weaken Jose during the next several days.  Jose will be moving over warm water until it gets north of the Gulf Stream.  If the upper level winds slow, then Jose could get stronger.

Hurricane Jose is being steered northward by the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean and the trough over the eastern U.S.  On its anticipated track the center of Jose is forecast to move toward the northeastern U.S. and turn toward the east before it reaches the coast.  If Jose follows the forecast track, then the core of the hurricane would remain offshore.  However, the circulation of Jose is large enough that even if the center stays offshore, there could still be tropical storm force winds along the coast.

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.

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.

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.

 

Cat. 5 Hurricane Irma Moving Over Northern Leeward Islands

Category 5 Hurricane Irma moved over the northern Leeward Islands on Wednesday morning.  At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 17.9°N and longitude 62.6°W which put it about 35 miles (55 km) east-southeast of St. Martin.  Irma was moving toward the west-northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 185 m.p.h. (295 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 210 m.p.h. (340 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 912 mb.

The core of Hurricane Irma moved across Antigua, Barbuda, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin in recent hours.  It will reach Anguilla later this morning.

Hurricane Watches were in effect for Antigua, Anguilla, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, Guadeloupe, the southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Cooked Islands, Long Cay, the Iguanas, Mayaguane, the Ragged Islands, the Turks and Caicos, and the portion of the coast of Cabo Engano, Dominican Republic to the northern border with Haiti.  Hurricane Watches are in effect for the central Bahamas, the portion of the coast from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the northern border with Haiti 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.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the portion of the coast from Le Mole St. Nicolas, Haiti to Port Au Prince.

Hurricane Irma maintained its intensity during the northern overnight hours.  It has a circular eye with a diameter of 30 miles (48 km).  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 160 miles (260 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) is 44.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 19.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 63.9.  Those indices indicate that Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread catastrophic wind damage.

Hurricane Irma will continue to move over an environment very favorable for hurricanes.  Irma will stay over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds will remain weak for several more days and there will be little wind shear.  An upper level trough over the eastern U.S. will produce strong winds when Irma gets closer to Florida.  The wind shear will increase at that time.  Hurricane Irma could go through eyewall replacement cycles which would cause fluctuations in intensity.

Hurricane Irma is moving near the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean which is steering Irma toward the west-northwest.  The west-northwesterly motion is expected to continue for several more days.  Eventually, the upper level trough over the eastern U.S. is forecast to turn Hurricane Irma toward the north when it approaches Florida.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Irma is forecast to pass north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Jose is trailing behind Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Katia has developed over the southern Gulf of Mexico.  At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Jose was located at latitude 12.5°N and longitude 42.8°W which put it about 1255 miles east of the Leeward Islands.  Jose was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (20 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 1002 mb.

At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Katia was located at latitude 22.1°N and longitude 96.3°W which put it about 105 miles (165 km) east of Tampico, Mexico.  Katia was moving toward the east at 2 m.p.h. (3 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 1006 mb.

Very Dangerous Hurricane Irma Reaches Cat. 5

Very dangerous Hurricane Irma reached category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Tuesday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 39.1°W which put it about 225 miles (365 km) east of Antigua.  Irma was moving toward the west at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 180 m.p.h. (285 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 210 m.p.h. (340 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 931 mb.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra.  Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Guadeloupe and Dominica.  Hurricane Watches are in effect for Guadeloupe, the southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Crooked Islands, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands.  A Hurricane Watch is also in effect for the portion of the the coast from Cabo Engano, Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas, Haiti.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for the portion of the coast from Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port Au Prince, Haiti and from Cabo Engano to Isla Saona, Dominican Republic.

Hurricane Irma intensified rapidly after the completion of the most recent eyewall replacement cycle.  The structure evolved in a large classic Cape Verde hurricane.  The is a large circular eye at the center of circulation.  A ring of very strong thunderstorms surrounds the eye and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Irma.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 160 miles (260 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Irma is 44.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 19.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 63.9.  Hurricane Irma is as strong as Hurricane Rita was in 2005, but Irma is just slightly smaller than Rita was.  Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread catastrophic damage.

Hurricane Irma is moving through an environment that is very favorable for hurricanes.  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.  Hurricane Irma will likely remain very strong as long as it stays over water.  Additional eyewall replacement cycles could occur and they would result in fluctuations in the intensity of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma is being steered to the west by a very strong subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  Irma is expected to turn a little more toward the west-northwest as it moves closer to the western end of the high.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Irma will move across the northern Leeward Islands during the next 24 hours.  It will be near Puerto Rico on Wednesday and near the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

Hurricane Irma is an very dangerous hurricane.  It is capable of producing widespread catastrophic damage.  Hurricane Irma will also drop extremely heavy rain and flooding is very possible.

Hurricane Irma Strengthens to Cat. 4, Watch in effect for Puerto Rico

Hurricane Irma strengthened to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Monday and a Hurricane Watch was issued for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 16.7°N and longitude 54.4°W which put it about 490 miles (790 km) east of the Leeward Islands.  Irma was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 944 mb.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy.  Hurricane Watches are in effect for Guadeloupe, the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Dominica.

The circulation of Hurricane Irma has been going through a series of eyewall replacement cycles.  A plane flying through Irma reported concentric eyewalls earlier today.  The two eyewalls appear to have merged.  A small circular eye is at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounds the eye and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Irma.  Storms around the center are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping away mass in all directions from the hurricane.

Hurricane Irma has been increasing in size.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 140 miles (225 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Irma is 25.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 13.6.  The Hurricane Wind Intensity Size index (HWISI) is 38.7.

Hurricane Irma will move through an environment very favorable for tropical cyclones.  Irma will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Irma could strengthen further and it has a chance to reach Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Hurricane Irma is likely to go through additional eyewall replacement cycles, which will cause fluctuations in its intensity, but Irma should remain a strong hurricane as it nears the northern Leeward Islands.

The subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean has been steering Hurricane Irma toward the west and that general motion is expected to continue for another 12 to 24 hours.  After that time Irma is expected to turn more toward the west-northwest.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Irma will approach the northern Leeward Islands late on Tuesday.  Hurricane Irma could approach Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

Hurricane Irma Moves Toward Leeward Islands, Watches Issued

Hurricane Irma moved toward the northern Leeward Islands on Sunday and Hurricane Watches were issued for a number of those islands.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 17.2°N and longitude 51.0°W which put it about 710 miles (1145 km) east of the Leeward Islands.  Irma was moving toward the west-southwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 961 mb.

Hurricane Watches were in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St, Martin, and St. Barthelemy.

The circulation of Hurricane Irma is very well organized.  There is a nearly circular eye with a diameter of 30 miles (48 km) at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds are occurring in the northeastern part of the ring.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Irma.  Thunderstorms around the core are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping mass away in all directions from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 35 miles (55 km) from the center.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 140 miles (225 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Irma is 20.6.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 11.7 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 32.3.

Hurricane Irma will move through an environment favorable for intensification.  Irma will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C and there is warmer water farther west.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Irma could intensify into a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  There is a possibility that Irma could strengthen to Category 5 when it passes near the northern Leeward Islands and moves toward the Bahamas.  Hurricane Irma has already completed several eyewall replacement cycles and there could be more.  Each eyewall replacement cycle could result in fluctuations in the intensity of Hurricane Irma.

A strong subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Hurricane Irma toward the west-southwest.  The high is forecast to weaken just a bit during the next several days and Hurricane Irma is expected to move more toward the west-northwest.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Irma will approach the northward Leeward Islands on Tuesday night.  It will be a strong, dangerous hurricane at that time.

Hurricane Irma Completes Quick Eyewall Replacement Cycle and Strengthens

Hurricane Irma completed a quick eyewall replacement cycle on Friday and it strengthened after the cycle ended.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 18.8°N and longitude 39.1°W which put it about 1495 miles (2405 km) east of the Leeward Islands.  Irma was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 964 mb.

Hurricane Irma is a small circular hurricane.  There is a small eye at the center of circulation. The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the eye.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 100 miles (160 km) from the center.  The thunderstorms around the center are generating well developed upper level divergence which is pumping mass away in all directions.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Irma is 22.1  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 7.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 29.7.

Hurricane Irma will move through an environment favorable for intensification.  Irma will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Irma is likely to intensify further, but there are also likely to be additional eyewall replacement cycles which will cause fluctuations in the intensity.

Hurricane Irma is located south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high is steering Irma toward the west.  The high is forecast to strengthen over the weekend and it is likely to steer Hurricane Irma more toward the west-southwest.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Irma could approach the Leeward Islands early next week.