About Tyler Eliasen

Tyler Eliasen joined the FOX 13 team as a meteorologist in July 2017. You can see him during weekend evening newscasts and filling in during the week.

Weak Low Moving Near Florida This Weekend; Tropical Development Possible

As we get set to close out the work week, we’re watching an area of disturbed weather central Cuba. The National Hurricane Center is currently giving this a 50% chance of development over the next few days as it moves northward and eventually up the east coast of Florida.

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A weak area of low pressure is likely to form through the day on Friday as this disturbance moves over the Florida Straits. Any time you have an area of low pressure in a favorable environment over very warm water, it has to be watched closely. That being said, even if we do see something develop, it would likely be weak with minimal impacts. The one thing we can count on though is increased rain chances across most of the state through the weekend and into early next week. Rain totals will be on the order of 1-3″ across a lot of Central and South Florida, with isolated higher amounts possible especially in South Florida.

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We’re getting into the time of year when ‘homegrown’ activity in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean become more prevalent. Fitting into that mold, many models as of late have hinted at lowering pressure across the western Caribbean late next week. It’s something you’ll hear us talk more about as we get closer to that time frame, but for now it is just reminder that hurricane season is not over and we need to stay prepared. Hopefully we’ll get through the next few weeks unscathed and we’ll be home free, as things quiet down greatly in November.

Maria Ready To Race Out To Sea; Looking Ahead To October

Overnight Tuesday into early Wednesday, Maria brought tropical storm conditions to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The storm stayed about 150 miles offshore as it passed by, but large swells created dangerous rip currents and a storm surge of 2-4′, which in some cases resulted in minor coastal flooding.

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Maria is a category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph as of 11am Wednesday. Thanks to a trough digging into the northeast, Maria will take a sharp right hand turn over the next 24 hours and begin moving rapidly to the east-northeast, out to sea. Subsequently, conditions along the east coast will slowly be improving.

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With Maria on its way out and Hurricane Lee bothering nobody but the fish in the open Atlantic, we finally have somewhat of a quiet period. That being said, it is still hurricane season and we’ll still be watching the tropics closely over the next month or so. Storms can and do often form during the month of October, before we see a sharp decline in activity in November. Unlike August and September, when we watch for tropical waves rolling off Africa, the month of October often favors more “homegrown” activity in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. There have already been some hints in our long-range modeling of lowering pressure in the western Caribbean over the next couple of weeks. For now though, we enjoy the relative lull in activity and hope it stays with us the rest of the season.

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It has been an incredibly active season thus far with 13 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes – already nearing or reaching the numbers put forth in many seasonal outlooks, with still two months left in the official hurricane season.

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Hurricane Maria To Edge Past North Carolina Coast By Midweek

On Sunday evening, Hurricane Maria is still a category 2 storm with max winds over 100 mph. It will continue to slowly weaken over the next couple days as moves north into an increasingly unfavorable environment with higher wind shear.

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Image below (wind shear) courtesy University of Wisconsin/NOAA.

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At this point, confidence is fairly high that Maria will ultimately get picked up and ushered out to sea mid-late week by a trough digging into the mid-Atlantic and northeast. That being said, the storm may pass within 100-200 miles of the Outer Banks of North Carolina before that happens and effects of the storm can be felt well away from the center. At the very least, high surf and gusty winds can be expected in the Outer Banks and a tropical storm watch has been issued for areas from Surf City northward to the North Carolina/Virginia border, including the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A storm surge of 2-4 feet is possible from Cape Lookout to Duck including the sound side of the Outer Banks.

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Maria Makes Landfall In Puerto Rico

At 6:15 am Wednesday morning, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico near the city of Yabucoa. At landfall, Maria had sustained winds of 155 mph. It is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1932.

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After departing Puerto Rico later today, Maria will continue on a path that will take it north of the Dominican Republic, but very near the Turks & Caicos by Friday morning. Maria should weaken a bit over the next day or two, but will still be a dangerous major hurricane by the end of the week.

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The storm will stay well east of Florida, but hose along the east coast of the United States from North Carolina to New England should monitor the progress of Maria closely. Models have been pretty consistent in keeping the storm well offshore of the Carolinas; but at the very least some big swells can be expected early next week, especially along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We’ll keep you updated.

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Jose and Maria Chugging Along; Lee Limping Behind

The tropics remain hot as we close out the weekend. Tropical Depression Lee is on its last leg though, and fighting a losing battle with increasing wind shear. That should ultimately tear the system apart. That leaves Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria, both of which have been looking pretty healthy as of late.

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Jose will continue its trek north and remain a hurricane through at least Tuesday. It still looks like a close call for coastal New England, but as of now models are in pretty good agreement that it stays offshore.

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That being said, Jose is still likely to produce tropical storm force winds, large swells/dangerous rip currents, and quite a bit of rain. Expect accumulations of 3 to 5 inches over eastern Long Island, southern Rhode Island, and southeast Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket through Wednesday. Further south, accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible along the Mid Atlantic coast. This rainfall could cause isolated flash flooding in some areas. A Tropical Storm Watch is currently in effect for Fenwick Island to Sandy Hook, Delaware Bay South, East Rockaway Inlet to Plymouth, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket.

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Hurricane Maria continues to intensify as it nears the Lesser Antilles. As of Sunday evening, it’s about 140 miles ENE of Barbados and moving WNW at 15 mph. Currently forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday afternoon, Maria poses a serious threat to some of the same areas that were hit very hard by Hurricane Irma. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica,St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, and Anguilla. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will likely see watches and warnings go into effect over the next day or two, and unfortunately it look as though they’ll be staring down the barrel of a major hurricane by the middle of the week.

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So far we’ve had pretty good model agreement with the eventual path of Maria as it nears the United States. Trends have been for the system to approach the Turks & Caicos and SE Bahamas by next weekend before making a turn to the north, and perhaps staying out to sea thereafter. That’s a comforting trend for the U.S., but as we know we can’t lend a ton credence to model output beyond 5-7 days. Early signs are good and there’s no cause for concern right now, but you’ll want to check back for updates throughout the week as we track Maria across the Caribbean.

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Jose, Lee, And Maria In The Atlantic

As of Saturday evening, we now have 3 named storms to watch in the Atlantic…

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Jose:

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At 8pm Saturday, Jose had winds of 80 mph and was moving north at 6 mph. It will approach coastal New England by the middle of the week. While it’ll most likely stay offshore, it bears watching for folks in the Northeast.

Lee:

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At 8pm Saturday, Lee had winds of 40 mph and was moving west at 10 mph. Lee will meander in the general direction for the next few days, but should ultimately remain a ‘fish storm’ and stay out over the open Atlantic.

Maria:

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Maria will be of most interest over the next week as it approaches the Leeward Islands and ramps up in intensity. Unfortunately, tiny islands like Barbuda, Antigua, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands that were just hit so hard by Irma look to be in the path of Maria over the next few days. A Hurricane Watch is now in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for St. Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe, Dominica, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Maria will be in the vicinity of Puerto Rico by mid-week, and at that point, what, if any, U.S. impacts will become a little more clear.

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Jose Set To Flirt With East Coast; Two Other Areas To Watch In Atlantic

As we close out the work week, Jose is back to hurricane status. As of Friday evening sustained winds were at 75 mph and it was moving NW at 10 mph. This system won’t have an impact on anyone through the weekend, other than kicking up the surf a bit from the east coast Florida up through the Carolinas. Looking ahead to next week, folks in coastal New England will be watching this closely as it moves up from the south.

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Elsewhere in the Atlantic we have two systems to watch, no surprise given the fact that we are only a few days past the peak of hurricane season. Invest 96-L and Tropical Depression 14 are likely to become Maria and Lee, respectively, over the next few days. TD 14 looks to stay over open ocean, but Invest 96 will need to be watched closely as it moves WNW over the next week. Tropical storm or hurricane watches are possible for portions of the Lesser Antilles over the weekend.

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Hurricane Irma On Florida’s Doorstep

On Saturday evening, Hurricane Irma was about 90 miles southeast of Key West and slowly moving WNW. Max sustained winds were at 125 mph, but we are expecting intensification as it moves across the Florida Straits. Irma is likely to be a category 4, perhaps category 5, as it first makes landfall in the Keys Sunday morning and again near Fort Myers Sunday evening. Expect the strongest winds for the Tampa Bay area to arrive late Sunday night and last through Monday morning.

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Up and down the west coast of Florida expect hurricane force winds and storm surge. For SW Florida, that surge will be on the order of 10-15’+, with decreasing amounts further north.

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Hurricane Irma Draws Closer To South Florida; Widespread Impacts Ahead

On Friday afternoon, Irma is located about 380 miles SE of Miami. It is currently a strong category 4 storm with max winds of 155 mph, but some fluctuations in intensity are expected over the next day or two.

Irma is a very large storm… roughly 450 miles wide. Hurricane force winds extend out up to 60 miles from the center. Tropical storm force winds extend out up to 160 miles from the center. Irma is currently moving west at 14 mph and is expected to make landfall in the Florida Keys early Sunday morning before making its way north through the state. Preparations should be wrapped up today in South Florida, and no later than tomorrow afternoon for central and northern portions of the state.

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For the FOX 13 viewing area, expect tropical storm force winds to begin moving in from the south on Sunday morning. The worst of the weather will arrive Sunday night and last through Monday morning. During that time, you can expect hurricane force wind gusts (74+ mph) with winds out of the east-northeast. As the storm moves north on Monday morning, expect winds to become onshore. This will result in a storm surge of 2-4+ feet along the west-central Florida coast. Unfortunately, this will occur around high tide, resulting in a storm tide of up to 6 feet in spots. Also, expect total rainfall of 5-10″ and widespread power outages.

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Here is the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center…

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Venice
* Florida Keys

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* North of Sebastian Inlet to Ponce Inlet

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach
* Florida Keys
* Lake Okeechobee
* Florida Bay
* Southeastern Bahamas
* Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara
* Central Bahamas
* Northwestern Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County Line
* North of Bonita Beach to Anclote River
* Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, and Las Tunas

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STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

SW Florida from Captiva to Cape Sable…6 to 12 ft
Jupiter Inlet to Cape Sable including the Florida Keys…5 to 10 ft
Ponce Inlet to Jupiter Inlet…3 to 6 ft
Venice to Captiva…3 to 6 ft

The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS by the following amounts within the hurricane warning area near and to the north of the center of Irma.  Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Turks and Caicos Islands…15 to 20 ft
Southeastern and central Bahamas…15 to 20 ft
Northwestern Bahamas…5 to 10 ft
Northern coast of Haiti and the Gulf of Gonave…1 to 3 ft
Northern coast of Cuba in the warning area…5 to 10 ft

WIND:  Hurricane conditions are still occurring in portions of the southeastern Bahamas and these conditions will continue to spread westward over the central Bahamas later today.  Hurricane conditions are expected to continue within the hurricane warning area along the north coast of Cuba through Saturday. Hurricane conditions are expected in the northwestern Bahamas tonight and Saturday, and in portions of southern Florida and the Florida Keys Saturday night or early Sunday.

Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area in Florida by Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible by late Saturday.

RAINFALL: Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Tuesday night:

Dominican Republic and Haiti…additional 1 to 4 inches.
Turks and Caicos…additional 2 to 4 inches.
Southern Bahamas and northern Cuba…10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.
Southern Cuba…4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches.
Jamaica…1 to 2 inches.
The upper Florida Keys into southeast Florida…10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.
Lower Florida Keys…4 to 8 inches.
Eastern Florida northward into coastal Georgia…8 to 12 inches, isolated 16 inches.
Western Florida peninsula…4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches.
Much of Georgia…South Carolina…and Western North Carolina…3 to 6 inches.

SURF:  Swells generated by Irma are affecting Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, and should start affecting portions of the southeast coast of the United States later today and tonight.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.  Please consult products from your local weather office.

 

Irma Chugs Westward; Florida’s Threat Increasing

At 5pm Thursday, Irma is still a powerful category 5 hurricane with max sustained winds of 175 mph. This evening it is closing in on the Turks & Caicos as it continues to move WNW at 16 mph. Hurricane watches are currently in effect for South Florida and the Florida Keys. Those will likely be expanded north at some point in the next 12-18 hours.

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Model trends on Thursday afternoon have shown a slight shift to the west and the official track from the National Hurricane Center has followed suit with a slight bump westward. It’s important to remember that a shift of only 25-50 miles either way will have a big on local impacts. The exact track is not etched in stone and, as of now, all of the Florida Peninsula needs to be prepared for hurricane conditions Saturday night through Monday morning as this system moves north through the state.

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