August 11, 2020

Maria grows to a Cat 3*, nears already battered Caribbean [5PM NHC advisory now Cat 4]


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From Newsmax

Hurricane Maria grew into a Category 3* [now Cat 4] storm on Monday as it barreled toward a potentially devastating collision with islands in the eastern Caribbean. Forecasters warned it was likely to grow even stronger.

The storm was on a path that would take it near many of the islands already wrecked by Hurricane Irma and then on toward and the . Maria could hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, said Ernesto Morales with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan.

“This storm promises to be catastrophic for our island,” he said. “All of Puerto Rico will experience hurricane force winds.”

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria had maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) late Monday morning. It was centered about 95 miles (150 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica — or 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of — and heading west-northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

Hurricane warnings were posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique and St. Lucia. A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Anguilla.

Forecasters said hurricane conditions should begin to affect parts of the Leeward Islands by Monday afternoon or evening, with storm surge raising water levels by 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.

Officials in Dominica closed schools and government offices on Monday and urged people to evacuate and seek shelters.

“We should not take this storm lightly,” said Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. “Let us continue to pray for our safety.”

Officials in Guadeloupe said the French Caribbean island of would experience extremely heavy flooding starting Monday afternoon, and they warned that many communities would be submerged overnight.

On Wednesday, Maria was expected to be near or over Puerto Rico, which was spared the full brunt of Irma, although much of the island had its power knocked out. Nearly 70,000 people remain without power, and Gov. Ricardo Rossello on Monday warned of another widespread outage.

“We have an extremely weak infrastructure that has already been hit by one storm,” he said. “This is going to be a catastrophic event.”

Forecasters said the storm would dump up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain across Puerto Rico and whip the U.S. territory with heavy winds for 12 to 24 hours.

Officials said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ready to bring drinking water and help restore power in Puerto Rico immediately after the storm.

Rossello said officials had prepared about 450 shelters with a capacity for nearly 68,000 people — or even 125,000 in an emergency. Schools were cancelled for Monday and government employees would work only a half day.

Officials in the Dominican Republic urged people to leave areas prone to flooding and said fishermen should remain in port.

Farther north, long-lived continued to head northward off the U.S. East Coast, causing dangerous surf and rip currents. It wasn’t expected to make landfall but tropical storm watches were posted along the coast from Delaware to Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.

Jose was centered about 265 miles (430 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north at 9 mph (15 kph). It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

The ocean washed over parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Hurricane Jose passed well to the east, and five people were knocked off a coastal jetty in Rhode Island by high surf caused by the storm. Officials said rescuers had to fight through rough surf to load the injured onto stretchers and get them to shore. All five were taken to a hospital with minor and major injuries.

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Norma’s threat to Mexico’s Los Cabos resort area at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula seemed to ease as forecasters said the storm’s center was likely to remain offshore.

Norma had winds of about 50 mph (85 kph) and it was centered about 175 miles (280 kilometers) southwest of Cabo San Lucas. The Baja California Sur state government prepared storm shelters and canceled classes for Monday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee weakened into a tropical depression far out in the Atlantic while Hurricane Otis weakened far out in the Pacific. Neither threatened land.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Image: Maria Grows to a Cat 3, Nears Already Battered Caribbean
Soldiers from the 602nd Area Support Medical Company wait on a beach for a Navy landing craft as their unit evacuates in advance of Hurricane Maria, in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands September 17, 2017. (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

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Hurricane Jose may brush northeast as new storm threatens Irma-devastated iIslands

By Chas Danner From New York Mag

Hurricane Jose, a Category 1 storm, may begin affecting the East Coast as far south as North Carolina within a few days. Jose was upgraded from a tropical storm on Friday after the U.S. Air Force’s Hurricane Hunters measured 75 m.p.h. winds; the hurricane has been continuing to strengthen and organize, according to the Weather Channel. The Eastern Seaboard may begin experiencing dangerous surf and rip currents from the storm this weekend, and those impacts are already being felt in the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Storm-path models continue to predict that Jose, which could gain additional strength after moving over warmer waters to the northwest, will not make landfall in the Bahamas or on the East Coast. However, direct impact on the mainland U.S. remains within the storm’s “cone of uncertainty.”

Jose seems likely to remain well offshore of the mid-Atlantic states, but Long Island and coastal New England could end up in the storm’s path if it eventually heads north. The region might be hit by the storm’s western edge around the middle of next week — though, the storm’s intensity may have significantly weakened by that point.

It’s also possible that the high-pressure system currently preventing the storm from moving out to sea will shift and finally usher Jose away from land.

In the meantime, another troubling storm is brewing east of the Lesser Antilles, which may threaten the same islands in the eastern Caribbean that Irma devastated less than two weeks ago. As the Capital Weather Gang’s Greg Porter explains, Tropical Storm Maria* seems to be intensifying and may follow a track similar to Irma, fed by the same weather conditions that made Irma so powerful. A tropical-storm watch has already been issued for the Windward Islands (including Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe). It remains possible that islands to the north — including already devastated Barbuda and St. Martin — and the Eastern Seaboard could face a second major hurricane next week. On Saturday evening, after Maria got its name, a hurricane watch was issued for Barbuda, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat.

*Tropical Storm Maria’s projected path as of Saturday evening. Photo: National Hurricane Center
In addition to Tropical Storm Lee, which just formed in the tropical Atlantic, but is not expected to be a threat, Maria is the 13th named Atlantic storm of the year. That makes 2017 only the seventh year on record that 13 storms have been named before September 16. – Updated to Monday 18

* Now HURRICANE Maria (Mon 18)


Satellite image of Hurricane Jose and, to the far southeast, Tropical Depression 15, as of Saturday. Photo: NOAA ** – Updated to Monday 18 – H urricane Maria & Lee

***Jose’s projected path as of Saturday morning. Photo: National Hurricane Center – Updated to Monday 18
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