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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Jose Meanders in the Atlantic; No Immediate U.S. Threats

Hurricane Jose meanders well east of the Bahamas Wednesday. It interacts with some higher shear and is a minimal hurricane at 11 AM. Jose will make a slow clockwise loop the next few days before paralleling the east coast as a tropical storm. It will not impact the U.S for at least the next 5 days, if at all. The long-range Jose steering is quite complex, so keep an eye on it in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast next week. Interest in Bermuda should also monitor the progress of Jose.

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After two back to back U.S. major hurricane landfalls, there are no other areas of immediate concern. The Euro suggests a tropical storm may develop near the Lesser Antilles early next week. Fortunately, wind shear looks to keep this possible future tropical cyclone weak. It’s worth watching.

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It is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season and the potential for more strong hurricanes exists. There is a secondary peak in October. Fronts are more active during this time and tropical systems can be guided northward towards Florida/the Southeast U.S..

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Irma Loses Tropical Characteristics-Cleanup Far From Over; Jose No Current Threat to the U.S.

Irma lost tropical characteristics Monday evening, but cleanup efforts are only beginning. The massive former category 5 hurricane brought flooding, storm surge, hurricane force winds, isolated tornadoes, and off course millions of power outages to Florida and parts of the Southeast. Impacts were felt well from the center of circulation due to the massive size of Irma. The remnants of Irma bring lingering showers to the south central U.S. Tuesday.

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Here are some of the peak wind gusts across Florida.  Gusts well over hurricane force were felt throughout two-thirds of the state. A max gust of 142 mph was reported in Naples. Winds gusted to near 100 mph at Miami International Airport and to 77 mph in Clearwater.

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Freshwater flooding is ongoing due to tremendous rainfall. In combination with coastal flooding from storm surge, many river levels are at record heights. Fort Pierce, Florida saw nearly 16 inches of rain.  On the east side of the powerful former major hurricane West Melbourne and Jacksonville International Airport saw 11″+ of rain. Flooding also occurred in coastal Georgia and South Carolina Monday. The St Johns River near Downtown Jacksonville rose to a record 5.57 feet. According to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, storm surge surpassed levels previously set during Hurricane Dora in 1964. Downtown Charleston, South Carolina was under water too. A surge of 9.92 feet was recorded there; it’s the third largest storm surge in the city’s history. Southeast Florida, including Miami, still recovers from coastal flooding too.

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The 2017 Atlantic season is well above average. Two major hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, have made landfall in the U.S. in just two weeks. So far there are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. That is pretty much the average number of storms we typically see in an entire Atlantic season.

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We are down to one named storm, Hurricane Jose in the Atlantic. There is not much to steer Jose in the coming days. Models keep Jose well east of the Florida over the weekend. As it lifts northward, it is likely to stay out to sea, but could bring some swells to the Mid Atlantic by mid-week. We’ll keep an eye on it.

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Irma Brings Hurricane Conditions to Tampa Bay; Area Spared From the Worst

Irma lashed Tampa Bay late Sunday and early Monday. After landfall in Naples as a major hurricane Sunday afternoon, it stayed on a northerly track. In combination with some higher wind shear and a disruption from Cuba, the storm was weaker than anticipated in Central Florida. The eye wall raked Hardee, Desoto and Polk county late Sunday/early Monday damaging structures with wind gusts of 80-100 mph. Populated areas like Sarasota, Tampa and St Pete missed the eye wall, but still saw hurricane force wind gusts.

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Southwest Florida was slammed with major hurricane force wind gusts. A peak gust of 142 mph was recorded in Naples. Fort Desoto in Pinellas saw a wind gust of 91 mph. Winds gusted 60-80 mph+ through most of Tampa Bay, including a gust of 78 mph in Tampa.

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After Irma made landfall, its wind field grew substantially. As of 8 AM Monday the tropical storm wind field is over 400 miles from the center. This includes most of Florida, parts of southeast Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

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The center of Irma passed well inland, with eye passing through Hardee and Polk county. The massive storm exits and an early Monday morning high tide has passed. Gusty westerly winds stir up the Gulf of Mexico. While a significant storm surge is unlikely, there could still be some minor coastal flooding as waves moves back in (especially when winds veer southwest). As of 9 AM, wave heights build to 6-10 feet near shore. Higher waves settle in throughout the day. It will stay choppy the next few days.

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Rainfall totals were substantial around the state, but this was not a long lived rain event. Most of the rainfall from Irma fell within 24 hours. Up to 8-10″ fell in Southeast Florida with 4-8″+ in the Tampa Bay area.

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Irma moves into the Southeast the next two days and brings with it gusty winds and steady rain.

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Florida Major Hurricane Drought Broken; Irma Slams the Keys-Takes Aim at Southwest Florida

Irma made landfall in the lower Florida Keys near Cudjoe Key at 9:10 AM Sunday with 140 mph sustained winds. It is the first major hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005. It is also the first category 4 hurricane to hit the Sunshine State since Charley in 2004. A second landfall was in Marco Island as a category 3 hurricane with 130 mph winds at 3:35 PM. The eye wall hammered the Seven Mile Bridge and storm surge was extreme too. Wind gusts well over hurricane force are felt far from the center, including in 92 mph wind gust Miami at 1 PM. Unfortunately, for Marco Island and the Naples area an extreme storm surge event will occur alongside winds in excess of 115 mph. The massive hurricane will weaken after landfall due to some higher wind shear and interaction with land. The Tampa Bay area will see sustained winds of 70-90 mph, and higher gusts overnight Sunday into Monday. Widespread power outages are felt across the state.

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Storm surge and extreme waves are felt well from the center of Irma. As of 2 PM waves build to 20-30 feet in Southeast Florida. These lift north through central and northeast Florida Sunday night and Monday morning.

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A catastrophic storm surge will felt in Southwest Florida, which coincides with high tide. Storm surge is expected in the Tampa Bay area once Irma passes. This will occur during an early Monday morning high tide cycle.

Here is the official storm surge forecast:

Cape Sable to Captiva:10 to 15 ft
Captiva to Ana Maria Island:6 to 10 ft
Card Sound Bridge through Cape Sable, including the Florida Keys: 5 to 10 ft
Ana Maria Island to Clearwater Beach, including Tampa Bay: 5 to 8 ft
North Miami Beach to Card Sound Bridge, including Biscayne Bay: 3 to 5 ft
South Santee River to Fernandina Beach:4 to 6 ft
Clearwater Beach to Ochlockonee River:4 to 6 ft
Fernandina Beach to Jupiter Inlet:2 to 4 ft
North of North Miami Beach to Jupiter Inlet:1 to 2 ft

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Here is the 11 AM Irma track. Irma will rake the Tampa Bay area overnight Sunday into Monday. It will steadily weaken over land. Irma moves into southeast Georgia by Monday night.

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While Irma is a 24 hour rain event for most across the Sunshine State, hefty rainfall totals are likely. 10-15″ are likely from Southwest Florida up through Tampa Bay. Flooding is likely, especially in combination of storm surge.

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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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