Tag Archives: the Bahamas

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 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.

Hurricane Jose Makes Loop East of the Bahamas

Hurricane Jose made a slow clockwise loop east of the Bahamas during the past several days.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 25.2°N and longitude 66.0°W which put it about 935 miles (1510 km) east of Nassau, Bahamas.  Jose was moving toward the west at 3 m.p.h. (5 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 985 mb.

Hurricane Jose was in an area of weaker winds between an upper level ridge to the west and an upper level trough to the east.  The weaker steering winds pushed Jose around a slow clockwise loop.  The ridge is forecast to move north of Jose on Thursday and it should steer the hurricane toward the west.  The ridge is forecast to move east of Jose on Friday and the hurricane is expected to start moving more toward the north.

Hurricane Jose has been moving through an environment that was somewhat unfavorable for intensification.  Jose was moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature was near 29°C.  However, the upper level ridge was producing northerly winds which were causing moderate vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Jose maintained its intensity despite the moderate shear, although there were fewer showers and thunderstorms in western half of the circulation.  The wind shear could decrease as the upper level ridge moves north of Jose and the hurricane could strengthen.

It is still too early to know if Hurricane Jose will have much of an impact on the U.S.  Most of the guidance from numerical models keeps Jose out over the Atlantic Ocean, but its actual track will depend on where and when the clockwise loop ends.

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.