9:35 AM ET Saturday, September 16
We knew that it was only a matter of time before the hurricanes would return. After almost 12 years of relative peace and quiet, Ike, Irene and Sandy not withstanding, this season has demonstrated once again that we are most definitely vulnerable- even from multiple strikes in areas that were hit and are struggling to pick up the pieces.
Right now is the traditional peak time of hurricane season and the map certainly proves that point quite well.
Hurricane Jose 5 day forecast map from the NHC
The big story for the time being is hurricane Jose which may never cross the coastline of the U.S. but will bring substantial impacts nevertheless.
Right now the biggest issue will be continued swells and associated rip currents along the beaches from Bermuda and the Bahamas to the Southeast and up the Mid-Atlantic states. Make no mistake, these swells can be very dangerous- especially when the waves break right on the beach. Be extremely careful out there and respect the energy that is pounding the beachfront.
The other issue with Jose will be the gradual expansion of its wind field. This will push tropical storm force winds closer to the coast of North Carolina, eventually spreading north along the mid-Atlantic states into Southeast New England. We will need to wait another day or so before a clearer picture of how much wind will be expected and how far inland it is likely to penetrate. The bottom line is that Jose need not make landfall along the US coast for there to be significant impacts including property damage.
It appears that the key to how close Jose gets to the coast will be its forward speed. Evidently, the faster it is moving the more likely it will pass very close to southeast New England by mid week. It all comes down to timing – when does it not? This will definitely be another case where coastal residents and visitors needed to pay attention to the overall impacts and size of the hurricane rather than exactly where the center is forecast to track. We may see a tropical storm watch issued for parts of the North Carolina coast later today. I expect that this will continue to expand as the threat increases and expands up the East Coast.
Right now my plan is to head to the Outer Banks of North Carolina tomorrow to set up a camera system in Kitty Hawk. From there I will assess the situation but have no problem going as far as Cape Cod if need be by mid week. I will have more concerning my field coverage plans later tonight.
Meanwhile, we need to watch what is now known as invest 96L very closely. It is almost 8 shoe in to become a hurricane at some point and could impact portions of the Lesser Antilles that were devastated by Irma. It is also looking increasingly likely that areas farther west such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican republic and maybe the Bahamas could also be impacted down the road. Unfortunately the upper pattern is favorable not only for development but also for steering this future system towards the United States. It is too soon to pinpoint what area might be affected. As usual, we are going to simply have to watch and wait while we remain vigilant and prepared.
Also, in the east Pacific, hurricane Norma is barely moving near the coast of the Baja Peninsula. Obviously this poses a significant flood threat along with the typical hurricane conditions that are expected for the region.
I will post a detailed video blog concerning all of the latest goings on in the tropics late this evening.