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Hurricane Florence Causes Watches for Carolinas, Isaac for the Lesser Antilles

The potential impacts of Hurricane Florence caused Hurricane Watches to be issued for the Carolinas on Tuesday morning while the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac also caused Watches to be issued for some of the Lesser Antilles.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 26.7°N and longitude 65.3°W which put it about 905 miles (1455 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 950 mb.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

Hurricane Florence was nearing the end of an eyewall replacement cycle on Tuesday morning.  A thin ring of showers and thunderstorms around the center of circulation was all that was left of the original eyewall.  A larger ring of thunderstorms surrounded an eye with a diameter of 36 miles (58 km).  Several other bands of showers and thunderstorms surround the new, larger eyewall.  Storms near the core of Hurricane Florence generated strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the hurricane.

The eyewall replacement cycle temporarily weakened Hurricane Florence, but it also made the circulation larger.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 150 miles (240 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Florence was 25.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 15.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 40.4.

Hurricane Florence will be moving through an environment favorable for strong hurricanes.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Florence is likely to strengthen during the next 24 hours, but additional eyewall replacement cycles could cause the intensity to fluctuate.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of the subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence in a general west-northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Florence could approach the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina on Thursday.  It will very likely be a major hurricane at that time.

Tropical Storm Isaac moved steadily toward the Lesser Antilles and Watches were issued for some of those islands.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.6°N and longitude 49.7°W which put it about 775 miles (1250 km) east of the Lesser Antilles.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 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 996 mb.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Antigua and Montserrat.

Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Helene moved far south of the Azores.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Helene was located at latitude 16.5°N and longitude 34.3°W which put it about 1550 miles (2495 km) south-southwest of the Azores.  Helene was moving toward the northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 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 966 mb.

Florence Strengthens Into a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Major Hurricane on Monday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 25.9°N and longitude 62.4°W which put it about 1085 miles (1745 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (270 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 944 mb.

Hurricane Florence intensified rapidly on Monday morning and early afternoon.  An eye with a diameter of 18 miles (29 km) formed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Florence.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the hurricane.

Hurricane Florence increased in size on Monday.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 150 miles (240 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Florence was 28.2.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 14.0 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 42.2.  Hurricane Florence was capable of causing extensive significant damage.

Microwave satellite imagery indicated that an inner rainband may have wrapped around the original eye and eyewall.  An eyewall replacement cycle may have begun and that may have halted the rapid intensification of Hurricane Florence.  Florence could weaken during the next few hours while the inner eyewall weakens.  Hurricane Florence will move through an area capable of supporting strong hurricanes on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  If the inner eyewall dissipates during the next day or so, then Hurricane Florence could strengthen again.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of the subtropical high pressure system during the next several days.  The high will steer Florence toward the west-northwest.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Florence will approach the coast of North Carolina on Thursday afternoon.  The winds steering Florence could weaken as it approaches the coast and the track forecast becomes much more uncertain at that time.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac were spinning over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Helene was located at latitude 15.5°N and longitude 32.4°W which put it about 1590 miles (2555 km) south of the Azores.  Helen was moving toward the west-northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 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 968 mb.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.5°N and longitude 46.9°W which put it about 960 miles (1550 km) east of the Lesser Antilles.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 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 997 mb.

Florence Strengthens Back Into a Hurricane

Florence strengthened back into a hurricane on Sunday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 24.4°N and longitude 56.3°W which put it about 750 miles (1210 km) southeast of Bermuda.  Florence was moving toward the west at 6 m.p.h. (10 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 984 mb.

Hurricane Florence was better organized on Sunday morning.  A NOAA research aircraft reported a circular eye with a diameter of 24 miles (39 km).  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Florence.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 20 miles (35 km) to the east of the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 115 miles (185 km) to the north of the center and about 50 miles (80 km) to the south of the center.

Hurricane Florence will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Florence will strengthen and it could intensify rapidly at times.  Florence is likely to be a major hurricane on Monday.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence in a general west-northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Florence will approach the southeast coast of the U.S. on Thursday.  It is likely to be a major hurricane at that time.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac moved westward over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Helene was located at latitude 13.2°N and longitude 25.0°W which put it about 120 miles (195 km) south-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Helene was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (20 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 997 mb.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Santiago, Fogo and Brava.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.3°N and longitude 39.1°W which put it about 1470 miles (2370 km) east of the Windward Islands.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.

Tropical Storm Florence Reorganizes Southeast of Bermuda

Tropical Storm Florence reorganized southeast of Bermuda on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Florence was located at latitude 24.6°N and longitude 55.2°W which put it about 790 miles (1270 km) southeast of Bermuda.  Florence was moving toward the west at 6 m.p.h. (10 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 989 mb.

Vertical wind shear decreased around Tropical Storm Florence and the circulation showed evidence of better organization.  Stronger thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation and a primary rainband wrapped about three quarters of the way around the center.  An eye appeared to be forming.  Thunderstorms near the center generated more upper level divergence which pumped away mass and the surface pressure decreased on Saturday.  More thunderstorms also developed in other rainbands that were revolving around the core of the circulation.  Tropical Storm Florence appeared to be on the threshold of regaining hurricane intensity.

Tropical Storm Florence will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification during the next two or three days.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move into a region where the upper level winds are weaker and there will be less vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Florence will intensify back into a hurricane on Sunday.  It could intensify rapidly once a eye and complete eyewall form.  Florence is likely to become a major hurricane by early next week.

Tropical Storm Florence will move near the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence in a general west-northwesterly direction during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Florence could approach the southeast coast of the U.S. by Thursday.  It is likely to be a major hurricane at that time.  The steering currents could weaken when Florence approaches the U.S. and it is too early to make a precise forecast of landfall.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storms Helene and Isaac strengthened over the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Helene was located at latitude 13.2°N and longitude 22.8°W which put it about 155 miles (250 km) southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Helene 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. (120km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Santiago, Fogo and Brava.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.4°N and longitude 37.5°W which put it about 1580 miles (2540 km) east of the Windward Islands.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 8 m.p.h. (13 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.

Florence Weakens to a Tropical Storm

Former Hurricane Florence weakened to a tropical storm on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Florence was located at latitude 25.1°N and longitude 49.8°W which put it about 1035 miles (1665 km) east-southeast of Bermuda.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest 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 993 mb.

An upper level trough west of former Hurricane Florence produced strong southwesterly winds which blew across the top of the circulation.  Those winds caused strong vertical wind shear and Florence weakened into a tropical storm.  Thunderstorms dissipated in rainbands in the western half of the tropical storm.  The ring of thunderstorms around the eye weakened and the western side of the eyewall was disrupted.  However, a distinct low level center of circulation persisted.  Thunderstorms northeast of the center still generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away to the northeast.

Tropical Storm Florence could weaken further on Friday because it will still be in the area of strong vertical wind shear.  However, as long as the lower part of the circulation remains intact, Tropical Storm Florence will be likely to strengthen during the weekend.  Florence is currently over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move over even warmer water during the weekend.  When Florence moves farther west, it will move into an area where the upper level winds are weaker and the wind shear will decrease.  Tropical Storm Florence is likely to intensify back into a hurricane during the weekend.

Tropical Storm Florence will move south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence in a generally west-northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track, Florence could be southeast of Bermuda by Monday.  Florence could approach the east coast of the U.S. later next week.

Hurricane Maria Moves Away from Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria moved away from Puerto Rico on Wednesday night after causing significant wind damage and serious flash floods.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Maria was located at latitude 19.2°N and longitude 67.9°W which put it about 55 miles (85 km) northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  Maria was moving toward the northwest 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 959 mb.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for the Turks and Caicos, the Southeastern Bahamas, and the portion of the coast from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the portion of the coast from Cabo Engano to Isla Saona, Dominican Republic.  Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the portions of the coast from Puerto Plata to the northern border with Haiti and from Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque, Dominican Republic.

Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southeast coast of Puerto Rico near Yabucoa on Wednesday morning.  Maria was a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale at the time of landfall.  Hurricane Maria moved northwest across Puerto Rico and the center emerged over the Atlantic Ocean near Arecibo on Thursday afternoon.

Hurricane Maria weakened as the core of the hurricane moved across Puerto Rico.  The mountains on Puerto Rico disrupted the circulation in the lower levels of Maria, but the middle and upper portions of the circulation remained intact.  Hurricane Maria was in the middle of an eyewall replacement cycle when it made landfall in Puerto Rico.  The timing of landfall may have caused Maria to weaken more than it would have if there had not been an eyewall replacement cycle.  The inner eyewall which contained the strongest winds dissipated at Hurricane Maria moved across Puerto Rico.  The strongest winds are occurring in the remaining outer eyewall.  The eyewall replacement cycle contributed to an increase in the size of the circulation of Hurricane Maria.  Wind to hurricane force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Wind to tropical storm force extend out about 160 miles (260 km) from the center.

Hurricane Maria will move through an environment favorable for intensification on Thursday.  Maria will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear.  It could take another 12 to 24 hours for the lower portions of the circulation to reorganize.   The reorganization could limit the rate of intensification.  In addition the center will pass near the Dominican Republic.  Some of the southern part of the circulation will be over land and that could also limit intensification until Maria moves farther away from Hispaniola.

Hurricane Maria is moving around the southwestern portion of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  That high has been steering Maria toward the northwest.  Many of the numerical models are forecasting that the high will weaken and Maria will turn toward the north on Thursday.  If the high remains stronger than the models are forecasting, then Hurricane Maria will move farther toward the west.  Hurricane Maria seems to have moved near the left side of the guidance from the numerical models in recent days.  On its forecast track the center of Hurricane Maria will move north of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.  Hurricane Maria could be near the Turks and Caicos on Friday.

Hurricane Maria is still capable of producing extensive significant damage.  Maria will drop heavy rain on parts of the Dominican Republic and there could be flash floods in some places where there is steeper terrain.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Jose move slowly east-northeast southeast of Massachusetts.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Jose was located at latitude 39.5°N and longitude 68.2°W which put it about 150 miles (245 km) southeast of Nantucket.  Jose was moving toward the east-northeast at 6 m.p.h. (9 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were ind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach including Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod.

Category 5 Hurricane Maria Bearing Down on Puerto Rico

Category 5 Hurricane Maria was bearing down on Puerto Rico on Tuesday night.  The eye was very near St. Croix.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Maria was located at latitude 17.3°N and longitude 64.7°W which put it about 30 miles (45 km) south-southeast of St. Croix and about 120 miles (190 km) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Maria was moving toward the west-northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 175 m.p.h. (280 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 215 m.p.h. (345 m/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 909 mb.

Hurricane Warnings were in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and for the portion of the coast from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for the Turks and Caicos, the Southeastern Bahamas, Saba, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Eustatius, St. Barthelemy, and the portion of the coast from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano, Dominican Republic.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, the portion of the coast from Puerto Plata,, Dominican Republic to the northern border with Haiti and for the portion of the coast from Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque, Dominican Republic,

Hurricane Maria is a very well organized powerful hurricane.  It has a small inner eye and a second outer eyewall extends most of the way around the inner eyewall.  The strongest winds are occurring in the inner eyewall.  Additional spiral bands are revolving around the core of the circulation.  The concentric eyewalls have caused the circulation of Hurricane Maria to increase in size.  Winds to hurricane force now 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 Hurricane Maria 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 Maria is capable of causing regional catastrophic damage.

Hurricane Maria will continue to move through an environment favorable for powerful hurricanes until it reaches Puerto Rico.  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.  If the outer eyewall completely encircles the inner eyewall, then an eyewall replacement cycle could cause some weakening.  Hurricane Maria will weaken more if the center moves directly over Puerto Rico.  The amount of weakening will depend on the stage of the eyewall replacement cycle at the time of landfall.

Hurricane Maria is being steered toward the west-northwest by the subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  The western end of the high is forecast to weaken during the next several days.  The weakening of the high will allow Hurricane Maria to move more toward the north.  The core of Hurricane Maria will pass near or over St. Croix during the next few hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Maria will reach Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning.

Hurricane Maria is a very dangerous hurricane.  It is capable of causing catastrophic damage.  Maria will also drop very heavy rain over Puerto Rico and there is the potential for significant flash flooding.  Maria could also cause a storm surge of up to 12 feet (4 meters) along the coast.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Jose weakened to a tropical storm east of the U.S.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Jose was located at latitude 37.9°N and longitude 70.8°W which put it about 230 miles (375 km) south of Nantucket.  Jose was moving toward the northeast at 9 m.p.h. (15 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 973 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts including Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Port Jefferson.

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.