Sep 192017
 

It is going to be a horrible night on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix.

Category five hurricane Maria has maximum sustained winds of 175 mph late this Tuesday evening.

It is on track to pass just south and west or possibly over of the island of St. Croix overnight.  This puts the island on the forward right quadrant of the storm, the most dangerous portion where the winds are strongest and the water surge will be highest.

Maria is not forecast to change intensity in any meaningful way tonight or early tomorrow.  It will landfall Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Both islands will experience storm surge from 6 to 9 feet, Winds will likely range in the 155-175 range. Wind gusts could be higher in the mountainous areas of Puerto Rico.  Rain totals will exceed 20 inches in many areas.

 

Sep 192017
 

Another category five hurricane in the Atlantic.  Maria ramped up quickly yesterday and has re-intensified early today.

Maria went from a category one storm to a five in a day yesterday. Overnight, it slammed into Dominica with 160 mph winds. After weakening slightly, the hurricane has regained its strength still the strongest ranked storm possible.

This storm posses a great threat to the Virgin Islands today and to Puerto Rico on Wednesday.  All indications are Maria will be a category 4 or 5 storm when in reaches the island Wednesday afternoon.

From there, strong computer model consensus exists for a turn to the north over the open Atlantic.

Is it unusual for two storms of this strength to form in one year?  Not really.  Like notable tornado outbreaks, when the exact conditions line up you will get more than one violent storm.  For hurricanes in this region, the warm water is present like it is most years.  Weak wind shear (wind shear is a notable change in wind speed and or direction with height) and a parade of disturbances needed to “kick off” development is all that is needed.

Sep 182017
 

Hurricane Maria is strengthening in the Atlantic and has its eyes set on Puerto Rico.

This storm is in warm water and a favorable upper air pattern to develop.  It is presently a category 2 storm with 110 mph winds.  It should increase today to a category 3 storm.

It is not following the slightly cooler, up-welled waters left behind by the track of Irma or Jose but will cross that path later this week.

As for whether Maria will affect the mainland U.S., the computer models are somewhat up in the air (which is typical) but do lean more toward an open ocean track by late in the week.