Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hurricanes Maria and Jose, Tropical Depression Lee: September 18, Update A

Can you believe it’s only been one crazy month (and a day) since Harvey was named a Tropical Storm? The peak Atlantic Hurricane Season consists of the months of August, September, and October; we are about 6 weeks into that 12 week timeframe and Mother Nature is definitely making sure we know this is not over yet! Alas, things are still pretty tough out there in Atlantic Hurricaneland with Hurricane Maria now a category 5 storm – the second in two weeks.

This is turning into a repeat of hurricane seasons gone by. The 2004/2005 hurricane seasons brought about the genesis of this blog (in email form in those dark ages!). In 2004, we had 15 tropical storms, of which 9 were hurricanes, and of those 6 were major hurricanes (cat 3 or higher), including one cat 5, three cat 4, and two cat 3 storms. In 2005, we had 28 tropical storms, of which 15 were hurricanes, and of those 7 were major hurricanes including four cat 5, one cat 4, and two cat 3 storms. 

Hurricane Maria
There isn’t much to say about Hurricane Maria that you have not yet seen in the news I’m sure. Her eye crossed the island of Dominica today, just north of Martinique, when she was a category 5 storm with winds of 160mph:
She still has a very robust eye and structure as she continues into the northern Caribbean, even though she crossed the island:
Such a strong eye suggests she is still a strong storm, but it does look like the convection took a little dent from the island, so she may be a cat 4 at this point. Officially though, she still has winds of 160mph, central pressure of 924mb. There is very little wind shear in front of her, very little dry air, and the water is warm – the sea surface is over 29 deg C, and the upper 100-125m is warmer than 26 deg C, which is enough to keep her well fed and chugging along.

She is at 15.5N, 61.4W, heading WNW at 9mph, and the NHC track has been remarkably good (and steady) in its track, which takes her to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico next (despite my blowing on the computer screen for hours now, that track has not moved a smidge!):
I had mentioned the coastal ocean observing system yesterday. The one for the Caribbean, CARICOOS, is a good source to look for data. They have pulled together an assortment of hurricane information, but you can also look at the buoys and their data around the USVI and Puerto Rico, or you can get an overview of winds across the buoys and stations in the area (the speed is in knots).

Another note from the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas today said that the only way they have of communicating with the rest of the world is through cellular connections on Puerto Rico and St. Croix. If Hurricane Maria takes those two down, then all communication will be lost for a while.  

I have lots of friends and colleagues in both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, so stay safe out there!

Hurricane Jose
He is still officially a hurricane, but a very weak cat 1 storm with winds of 75mph, central pressure of 975mb (cat 1 range: 74-95 mph). His convection has weakened a lot during the day, although it looks like some areas along the east coast got a tinsy winsy amount of rain today:
He still has some pretty good circulation – not so strong in the upper troposphere, but very good in the lower half of the troposphere so I would agree with the NHC that he is a weak cat 1/borderline strong Tropical Storm.

He is at 35.2N, 71.3W, heading N at 8mph, and is on track to generally hang out in the Atlantic:

Tropical Depression Lee
He pretty much petered out over the Atlantic, caught in the wind shear and dry air. There is almost no circulation in the middle troposphere anymore. This is my last update on him.

That’s pretty much it for today. Stay safe out there!

Until tomorrow,

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
Twitter @JyovianStorm
DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know. 


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