The devastation is coming to light today from Puerto Rico. It has been a very rough 24 hours for them. Parts of the Caribbean have also recently had widespread damage. The damage to the infrastructure to that entire region will likely last for years. This morning Maria was just northeast of the Dominican Republic.
The eye of Maria had come back since yesterday. It was about 40 miles wide this morning. Though it was a little ragged. Yesterday the hurricane did weaken as it moved over the higher elevations of Puerto Rico. It was down to a category 2. However, this was short-lived as the hurricane moved back over warm water. So the sustained winds increased again up to 115mph. It has moved away from Puerto Rico since last night.
The hurricane force winds were north of the Dominican Republic this morning according to the wind analyzer.
Tropical storm force winds (39mph-73mph) did cover about a 3rd of the island. Even though the worst of the storm is offshore, they are still experiencing high waves, rain bands, and high tides. The storm is on a northwest track. So the hurricane force winds will stay offshore. It will move towards the Turks and Caicos islands by this evening. It will likely stay east of those islands, but they will still have some impacts. Over the weekend Maria will steer more to the north. Then it will curve to the northeast. Here is the forecast track:
So far the forecast is pretty good in terms of the east coast. In fact there is now a chance that Bermuda could have more impacts from Maria than we will. The models are in fairly good agreement in keeping the hurricane offshore.
There is still some uncertainty, but the trends are very good at this point. Two big models that we’ve been using with all of the recent tropical systems are the GFS and the European models. They both keep Maria well offshore as well. In fact I believe they have trended east a bit since yesterday.
If Maria does follow the latest forecasts then our area would probably be spared even most of the minimal effects. We would probably have no wind in the region except for a few gusts along the coast. We might get a rain band or two, but even the chance for that has decreased since yesterday. Some of the moisture from Maria may run into a cold front next Tuesday into Wednesday. So that will bring us some scattered showers. Regardless of the exact track, Maria will send us some waves. In fact I think we’ll continue to see some decent swells for the next several days. This will give us a high threat for rip currents though. So there’s good news for surfers, but bad news for swimmers.
Some of these waves are tied to Jose. Jose is a tropical storm that is well to our northeast.
There are some winds and waves along the Jersey Shore from the storm, but these impacts are minimal. The tropical storm is forecast to meander and weaken over the next few days. Even though it is well to our northeast, it is still producing waves here. In fact the surfers were loving it this morning at the oceanfront. Check them out on the tower cam from surfline.com.
There will be some nuisance to minor tidal flooding today. I’m surprised that it is lingering this long. However, we are in a New Moon phase. So the natural tide is up a bit anyway. Jose will eventually fall apart over the water. Meanwhile, high pressure has built into our region from the west. This is giving us some nice weather today. We’ll have lots of sunshine with highs in the mid 80s. Winds will be light and out of the north. It is a little humid still, but it’s not stifling. Dew points are in the mid 60s. High pressure will hang on through the weekend. We’ll see some great weather. Highs will be in the low 80s with fair skies. I mentioned that we could see some rain by Tuesday of next week. This will be along a cold front that will move into the region.
So for now things are looking pretty good for our area. However, we will have to watch the updates. We are not completely out of the woods with Maria, but optimism is growing.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler