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Chris Strengthens to a Hurricane Southeast of Cape Hatteras

Former Tropical Storm Chris strengthened to a hurricane southeast of Cape Hatteras on Tuesday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Chris was located at latitude 33.7°N and longitude 72.4°W which put it about 205 miles (330 km) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Chris was moving toward the northeast at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 980 mb.

Hurricane Chris strengthened on Tuesday when it moved northeast of cooler water Chris had mixed to the surface while it was meandering off the coast of the Carolinas.  An eye with a diameter of 30 miles (50 km) formed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the eastern side of that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Chris.  The strongest rainbands were in the eastern half of the circulation.  Drier air near the western half of the circulation was contributing to the weaker bands in that part of the hurricane.  Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the north and east of the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 20 miles (30 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 95 miles (155 km) from the center.

Hurricane Chris will move through an environment favorable for intensification on Wednesday.  Chris will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  An upper level trough over the northeastern U.S. will produce southwesterly winds that will blow toward the top of the hurricane.  The winds speeds are similar at most levels and they will not generate a lot of vertical wind shear during the next 24 hours.  Hurricane Chris will strengthen on Wednesday and it could intensify rapidly.  Chris will move over cooler water when it gets north of the Gulf Stream and it will start to weaken when that occurs.

The trough over the northeastern U.S. will steer Hurricane Chris toward the northeast.  On its anticipated track Chris will move away from the coast of North Carolina.  Chris could be south of Nova Scotia in about 36 hours and it could be near Newfoundland in several days.

Elsewhere, the remnants of former Tropical Storm Beryl crossed Hispaniola and they were moving toward the southeastern Bahamas.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Former Tropical Storm Chris was located at latitude 20.1°N and longitude 72.6°W which put it about 40 miles (65 km) northeast of Port de Paix, Haiti.  It was moving toward the northwest at 17 m.p.h. (28 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 1013 mb.  A reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system on Wednesday if there are signs that it could be reorganizing into a tropical cyclone.

Tropical Storm Chris Develops South of Cape Hatteras, Beryl Nears Lesser Antilles

Tropical Storm Chris developed south of Cape Hatteras on Sunday morning, while Tropical Storm Beryl neared the Lesser Antilles.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Chris was located at latitude 32.9°N and longitude 75.0°W which put it about 160 miles (260 km) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Chris was nearly stationary.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

Thunderstorms developed closer to the center of circulation on Sunday morning and the National Hurricane Center designated former Tropical Depression Three as Tropical Storm Chris.  The circulation of Chris was organizing quickly.  A band of showers and thunderstorms was wrapping around the center of circulation.  Several other rainbands were revolving around the core of the tropical storm.  The bands northwest of the center were weaker because there was drier air in that part of Chris.  The storms near the center of circulation were beginning to generate upper level divergence.

Tropical Storm Chris will remain in an environment favorable for intensification for the next two or three days.  The water in the upper portion of the Atlantic Ocean east of the Carolinas is warmer than normal.  Tropical Storm Chris will be over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  Chris will be southeast of an upper level trough over the northeastern quarter of the U.S. and it will be under a small upper level ridge.  The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Chris will continue to intensify and it could strengthen to a hurricane in the next day or two.

Since Tropical Storm Chris is under the small upper level ridge, the steering winds are weak.  Chris may not move much during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Tropical Storm Chris is forecast to linger of the coast of the Carolinas for several days.  Eventually an upper level trough will approach from the west and start to push Chris toward the northeast.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Beryl was nearing the Lesser Antilles on Sunday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Beryl was located at latitude 14.4°N and longitude 57.9°W which put it about 210 miles (335 km) east of Martinique.  Beryl was moving toward the west-northwest at 23 m.p.h. (37 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Barthelemy.

Thunderstorms continued to develop near the center of Tropical Storm Beryl on Sunday morning and the weakening trend halted at least temporarily.  Beryl remained a small tropical storm.  Winds to tropical storm force only extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of circulation.  There were several bands of showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of Tropical Storm Beryl.  The bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.

Tropical Storm Beryl is forecast to into a region where the easterly winds in the lower levels are stronger.  That would increase the vertical wind shear and make it difficult for the circulation to stay vertically coherent.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  So, there will be enough energy in the upper ocean to support a tropical storm if the wind shear is not too strong.  Tropical Storm Beryl is forecast to weaken when it moves over the eastern Caribbean Sea, but that will depend on how strong the vertical shear gets.

Tropical Storm Beryl is moving south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean which is steering Beryl toward the west-northwest.  A general motion toward the west-northwest is forecast to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Beryl will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe during the next few hours,

Tropical Storm Beryl Weakens East of the Lesser Antilles

Tropical Storm Beryl weakened on Saturday as it move closer to the Lesser Antilles.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of circulation was located at latitude 13.1°N and longitude 54.3°W which put it about 495 miles (795 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Beryl was moving toward the west-northwest at 18 m.p.h. (30 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Martinique, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Barbados and St. Lucia.

Tropical Storm Beryl moved into a region where the easterly winds in the lower level were stronger and the increased vertical wind shear started to blow the lower part of the circulation to the west of the upper part of Beryl.  It also seemed to move into an area of drier air, which caused most of the stronger thunderstorms to weaken.  There was still a well organized circulation in the lower levels, but it weakened on Saturday.  More thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation and on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Beryl in recent hours.  If those storms persist then Beryl could strengthen again, but if they dissipate quickly, then the tropical storm could weaken again on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Beryl will move through an environment that contains factors that are favorable for intensification and other factors that are unfavorable.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It will move through an area where the lower level winds are stronger and so there will be more vertical wind shear.  There will be areas of moister air within a larger area of drier air.  If the recently developed thunderstorms persist on Sunday, then the Beryl could strengthen again.  However, if the storms dissipate in a few hours, then Tropical Storm Beryl could weaken further.  The small size of the circulation means that rapid changes in intensity can occur.

Tropical Storm Beryl was moving south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high was steering Beryl toward the west-northwest and that general motion is forecast to continue for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Beryl could reach the Lesser Antilles on Sunday night.  There is a lot of uncertainty about how strong Beryl may be when it reaches those islands.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean Tropical Depression Three spun south of Cape Hatteras.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Depression Three was located at latitude 32.9°N and longitude 75.1°W which put it about 160 miles (260 km) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  It was nearly stationary.  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 1014 mb.

Hurricane Beryl Prompts Watches for Lesser Antilles, TD 3 Forms Southeast of Carolinas

The potential approach of Hurricane Beryl prompted the issuance of Watches for some of the Lesser Antilles on Friday afternoon, while at the same time Tropical Depression Three formed southeast of the Carolinas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Beryl was located at latitude 10.6°N and longitude 47.8°W which put it about 965 miles (1555 km) east-southeast of the Leeward Islands.  Beryl was moving toward the west at 15 m.p.h. (24 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 994 mb.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Dominica.  Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

The circulation of Hurricane Beryl remains very small.  The pinhole is no longer visible on satellite imagery, although strong thunderstorms continue to develop near the center of circulation.  Short narrow bands or showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Beryl.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 10 miles (15 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center.

Hurricane Beryl will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It is moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  However, the wind speeds are similar at all levels and there is currently little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Beryl could intensify on Saturday, but the circulation is so small that any increase in wind shear could cause rapid weakening.

The subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean is north of Hurricane Beryl and the ridge has been steering Beryl toward the west.  A motion more toward the west-northwest is forecast during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles later on Sunday.  That is the reason why the Watches were issued for some of those islands.  Beryl could still be a hurricane when it gets to the Lesser Antilles, but there is a lot of uncertainty about the intensity forecast because the hurricane is so small.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center designated an area of low pressure southeast of the coast of the Carolinas as Tropical Depression Three.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Depression Three was located at latitude 32.2°N and longitude 73.8°W which put it about 230 miles (370 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  It was moving toward the north-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1016 mb.  Tropical Depression Three is forecast to meander off the coast of the Carolinas during the weekend.  It could strengthen into a tropical storm and there is a chance it could intensify into a hurricane next week.

Unusual Tropical Depression Alberto Reaches Michigan

Unusual Tropical Depression Alberto reached southern Michigan on Wednesday as it continued its northward journey from the Gulf of Mexico.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Alberto was located at latitude 42.4°N and longitude 85.3°W which put it about 45 miles southwest of Lansing, Michigan.  Alberto was moving toward the north-northeast at 26 m.p.h. (43 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Depression Alberto remained intact even though it had been over land for more than two days.  There was a distinct low level center of circulation.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of circulation.  Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence.  Tropical Depression Alberto looked like a tropical cyclone on both satellite and radar imagery.

Gusty winds in some of the bands of showers and thunderstorms caused damage to trees and power lines in Indiana and Ohio.  Most of the damage was minor.  The peripheral parts of the circulation of Tropical Depression Alberto interacted with other weather system to produce bands of heavier rain over parts of the southeastern U.S.  The heavy rain contributed to flooding in several states.

Tropical Depression Alberto will move northeast across the Great Lakes and into Canada on Thursday.  The broader circulation around Alberto will again interact with other weather systems to produce bands of heavier rain.  The potential flooding will exist in several states in the southeastern U.S. and Great Lakes region.

Tropical Depression Alberto Drops Heavy Rain Over Southeast U.S.

Tropical Depression Alberto dropped heavy rain over portions of the southeastern U.S. on Tuesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Depression Alberto was located at latitude 36.3°N and longitude 87.5°W which put it about 45 miles (75 km) west-northwest of Nashville, Tennessee.  Alberto was moving toward the north at 16 m.p.h. (26 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 999 mb.

The core of Tropical Depression Alberto moved northward across Alabama and into Tennessee on Tuesday.  The circulation remained well developed and there was a band of showers and thunderstorms that surrounded most of the center.  Upper air data from Nashville, Tennessee indicated that the system might have a warm core and the Weather Prediction Center called it a Tropical Depression in the 11:00 p.m. EDT advisory.  A large counterclockwise circulation extended all the way to eastern North Carolina.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were rotating northward in the eastern half of the circulation.

Those bands of showers and thunderstorms were dropping heavy rain as they passed over some locations.  A weather station in Asheville , North Carolina received nearly two inches of rain on Tuesday.  Heavier rain likely fell over parts of the Appalachians where the wind forced the air to rise up the mountains.  There were reports of flooding in several locations and Flash Flood Warnings were in effect for a number of counties in western North Carolina.  The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina issued a Flash Flood Emergency for areas downstream of the Lake Tahoma Dam in central McDowell County, North Carolina due to imminent failure of the dam.  Flash Flood Watches remained in effect from Georgia to Virginia and westward to the Lower Ohio River Valley.

The core of Tropical Depression Alberto will move northward across Indiana on Wednesday.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms will continue to drop heavy rain in the eastern half of the circulation.  The greatest risk for flooding will be in locations where bands of heavier rain remain over those areas for several hours.  The ground is already very wet in parts of the eastern U.S.  Water levels in streams and rivers could rise quickly.  Saturated ground could also contribute to potential mudslides in steeper terrain.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Makes Landfall in Northwest Florida

Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in northwest Florida late on Monday afternoon.  According to the National Hurricane Center the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto officially made landfall near Laguna Beach, Florida.  At 5:00 p.m. the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 30.3°N and longitude 85.9°W which put it about 15 miles (25 km) west-northwest of Panama City, Florida.  Alberto was moving toward the north at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Aucilla, River, Florida to the border between Florida and Alabama.

Subtropical Storm Alberto weakened slowly as it approached the coast of northwest Florida.  Several factors contributed to the weakening of Alberto.  Drier air spiraled into the core of the circulation.  The drier air inhibited the development of taller thunderstorms in the eastern and southern quadrants of the circulation.  Most of the stronger storms developed north and west of the center of circulation.  Daytime heating of the land made the atmosphere more unstable and the instability contributed to the development of thunderstorms in rainbands in those parts of Alberto.  Subtropical Storm Alberto also mixed cooler water to the surface as it moved slowly toward the coast of Florida.  The Sea Surface Temperature near the coast was about 26°C before Subtropical Storm Alberto arrived.  However, the layer of warmer water was very thin.  The winds caused by Alberto mixed the water in the upper levels of the Gulf of Mexico.  The mixing brought cooler water to the surface and the Sea Surface Temperature cooled to near 24°C.  The cooler water meant there was less energy to support the circulation around Subtropical Storm Alberto.

The circulation of Subtropical Storm Alberto will weaken slowly as it moves inland.  Winds blowing water toward the coast will continue to produce a storm surge of 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.3 meters) east of the center of circulation for another 12 to 24 hours.  A large surface high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean will steer Subtropical Storm Alberto slowly toward the north during the next several days.  Locally heavy rain could produce flooding as Alberto moves northward.  Flood Watches have been issued for areas between the Gulf Coast and the Lower Ohio River Valley.  Flood Watches have also been issued for places as far east as the Carolinas and Virginia.  The risk of flooding is even greater for locations that already received heavy rain from previous weather systems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hurricane Maria Weakens As It Moves Over Jose’s Cold Wake

Hurricane Maria weakened on Sunday as it moved over an area of cooler water mixed to the surface by Hurricane Jose last week.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Maria was located at latitude 30.0°N and longitude 73.0°W which put it about 385 miles (625 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Maria was moving toward the north at 8 m.p.h. (13 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. (165 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 950 mb.

A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Surf City, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Hurricane Maria is moving over an area traversed by Hurricane Jose a week ago.  The winds of Jose mixed cooler water to the surface.  The region of cooler water is sometimes called the cold wake because it is left behind after a hurricane passes over a section of the ocean.  Observations from a NOAA research aircraft indicate that the Sea Surface Temperatures beneath Hurricane Maria are 24°C to 25°C.  There is not enough energy in the upper ocean to support a major hurricane and the circulation of Hurricane Maria has weakened during the past 24 hours.  The clouds around the eye and in the rainbands are not as tall.

Even though the upper level winds are not too strong and there is not much vertical wind shear, Hurricane Maria is unlikely to intensify.  Maria will continue to move over cooler water mixed to the surface by Jose.  Maria is likely to continue to weaken slowly during the next day or two.  Maria is a large hurricane and winds to tropical storm force extend out about 230 miles (370 km) from the center.

Maria is moving around the western end of subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high is steering Maria toward the north and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Maria would be southeast of Cape Hatteras on Tuesday night.  When Maria gets closer to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the hurricane will reach the westerly flow in middle latitudes.  Those westerly winds are forecast to steer Hurricane Maria toward the east later this week.

Because of the large size of Hurricane Maria’s circulation, winds to tropical storm force could be near the Outer Banks even if the center of Maria remains offshore.  Maria will also generate large waves and significant beach erosion could occur.

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.