Despite the comings and goings of two major hurricanes that affected the United States during the last month—Harvey and Irma—we remain in the midst of a very active Atlantic hurricane season that may not be done with us yet. Not only must the US East Coast keep an eye on Hurricane Jose as it finally begins moving forward, but another threat lurks behind it.
This post will review the three active Atlantic storms, and their potential effects on the Caribbean islands and the United States during the coming days and weeks.
Jose has meandered around the Atlantic Ocean for more than 10 days, but it is now finding the steering currents that will carry it toward dissipation or a transition to an extra-tropical cyclone. Here is the latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center, published at 11am ET on Saturday.
There remains pretty good agreement in the track of Jose through around Tuesday, as it traces the western edge of a high pressure system centered over the Atlantic Ocean. If Jose were to continue moving north after this point, we might be concerned about the storm moving into Long Island, Newport, R.I., or Cape Cod. However by later on Tuesday or Wednesday, most of the model guidance and ensembles show Jose getting picked up by the mid-latitude westerlies, and pushed away from the United States.
By Tuesday or Wednesday, Jose will also be moving over colder water, and this will probably lead to a weakening of Jose’s current sustained wind speed of 80mph, dropping it to tropical storm status.
Given this track and intensity forecast, we shouldn’t have major concerns about Jose and its effects on the United States. This isn’t another Harvey or Irma. While conditions could become worse if Jose moves along a more westward track or unexpectedly intensifies, right now I wouldn’t expect anything more than some rain and wind gusts in New York City, a possible 2 to 4 inches of rain in Cape Cod, and some dangerous surf and rip currents along the East Coast.
Tropical Storm Lee
Much like its namesake, Ars’ beloved editor Lee Hutchinson, Tropical Storm Lee is going to be a weak, low-energy system. It may strengthen a little over the next couple of days, but it’s of no threat to land during that time. After that time, all of the model guidance suggests wind shear is going to eat its lunch. Kind of like bullies use to beat up Lee and take his lunch money. Or so we’ve been told.
Potential Tropical Cyclone 15
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for another developing tropical storm. The season’s fifteenth storm is likely to move across the Leeward Islands early next week, and threaten Puerto Rico and Hispaniola by Tuesday or Wednesday. Here’s a look at the 10-day forecast from the European model ensemble members for this system:
Alas, wind shear is relatively low along the storm’s projected path over the next five days. Moreover, the sea surface temperatures in this area are quite warm (Irma’s track didn’t stir up cooler waters quite this far south). So there should be little to inhibit intensification of the storm. Conservatively, I think, the National Hurricane Center has this as a Category 1 hurricane with 90-mph winds by Thursday morning, near Puerto Rico. It has the potential to be considerably stronger than that.
Long-term, it’s too early to say whether this storm will threaten the Bahamas, Florida, or parts of the US East Coast. But given the way storms have intensified this summer, people in those areas probably should keep an eye on this developing cyclone and its future track.
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