Tropics Very Active through end of September

15 September 2017 / 6:50 p.m.

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season has been a beast, producing hurricanes Harvey and Irma; these two storms mark the first time in U.S. history we’ve had consecutive hurricanes of Category 4 strength or higher make a U.S. landfall.

And, our tropical worries are far from over: there are three systems in the Atlantic right now with two of those that bear close watching. Category 1 Hurricane “Jose” is expected to move toward New England; it will likely weaken once it gets north of the Gulf Stream and before it reaches the Rhode Island or Massachusetts coastline. However, its 70-80 mph winds could make for coastal flooding, downed trees and power lines, and a general mess. “Jose” will at a minimum produce dangerous rip currents and cause beach erosion from Florida to Massachusetts this weekend and into early next week.

There are two other systems in the eastern and central Atlantic, Tropical Depression No. 14 in eastern reaches of the sea, and an unnamed system to its west. The westernmost of these two presents the greater concern. This low pressure area is situated in a more favorable environment both moisture and shear-wise. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives it a high chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by Monday.

Steering currents will press this system westward, and with warm sea surface temperatures in its path there’s a moderate threat for a tropical storm or hurricane to pass through the eastern Caribbean next week.

Of course, the farther out you go in time the more difficult the forecast becomes, but the overall steering pattern suggests some threat from this system to the U.S. mainland as well by September 24. However, its way short of certain, there’s a second possibility although it is lower, that it could get into the Gulf, or it conceivably could recurve out to sea.

Let me emphasize that the intent of this post is to highlight two threats currently in the tropics and in a general way describe the most likely threat zones. Let me be clear that a “good” tropical cyclone forecast out five days will typically have about 250 miles of error, even more as we go out 7 to 10 days.

Bottom line: we’ll have plenty to keep tabs on in the tropics during the next week or two with an increased threat to the northeastern U.S. and the Caribbean during this time frame.

Take Care,
Steve LaNore
Chief Meteorologist
News 12 / KXII-TV