Kirk Mellish's Weather Commentary 

What’s next in tropical weather?

  • 5:37 pm Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

There are two areas of concern for new tropical storm or hurricane development, one shorter term one longer range.

Maria and Lee head out to sea next few days. Meanwhile:

It’s not unusual for tropical or semi-tropical lows to form on fronts that stall near or in the Gulf of Mexico, especially with strong high pressure to the north. We often see this in June/July and then again late in the season.

As the “Cape Verde” portion of hurricane season winds down (waves from out of Africa) it’s typical for development in late Sept-November to shift closer to the U.S. in the Western [More]

Maria still impacting Outer Banks of North Carolina

  • 11:05 am Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

Still a minimal Hurricane…

Maria is forecast to slowly move away from the North Carolina
coast later today. However, tropical storm conditions are expected
to continue along portions of the North Carolina coast through this

Storm surge flooding is occurring, especially along the sound
side of the North Carolina Outer Banks, and a storm surge warning
and watch are in effect for portions of eastern North Carolina.

Swells generated by Maria are affecting much of the east coast of
the United States, Atlantic Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the
Turks and Caicos Islands. These swells are likely to cause
life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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Maria brushing NC, indirect effect for Atlanta

  • 11:17 am Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

Hurricane Maria will continue to slowly move northward off the North Carolina coast and will not bring any sensible weather impacts to Georgia. With high pressure in place and no incoming frontal systems or disturbances, significantly warmer than average temperatures can be expected with no chance for rain today or Wednesday. For ATLANTA downward sinking air motions (subsidence) will help keep it dry and on the hot side with some compressional heating.

Lower levels remain dominated by stable, somewhat dry north-northeast flow around the periphery of Maria. Looks like this dry, stable airmass will negate any significant
chances for precipitation associated with the [More]

Tropical storm warning for North Carolina

  • 11:00 am Monday, September 25th, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

Maria’s coldest cloud tops and deepest convection continue to be
over the far eastern and northern portions of the circulation, but a
small area of convection has re-developed near the center this
afternoon. SFMR data from a NOAA aircraft investigating Maria
indicate that the maximum winds remain near 70 kt, and that the
area of hurricane-force winds extends about 90 nm from the
center over the eastern semicircle.

Maria continues its slow northward trek. A slow northward motion
should continue for another couple of days as Maria moves around
the western side of a subtropical ridge over the western Atlantic,
but the forward speed is atypically slow due to ridging [More]

Maria heading north, Tropical Storm Watch issued

  • 5:05 pm Sunday, September 24th, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

Final direction of Maria not yet resolved, track more toward or more away from North Carolina and points north still possible. As of now a near miss brushing looks more likely but may change again. Watches or warnings for tropical storm conditions could be issued in future for parts of East Coast.


Recent reports from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter
aircraft indicate that Maria’s pressure has fallen a few millibars
since this morning, but there has been little overall change in
intensity. A blend of the flight-level and Stepped Frequency
Radiometer Microwave Radiometer data yields an initial wind
speed of around 90 [More]

Maria can’t be written off for East Coast

  • 10:43 am Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

As I’ve been pointing out all week on the radio and in frequent blog posts here, great uncertainty existed on any U.S. mainland impacts in the longer term.

I pointed out over and over again that at 5 days and beyond, the normal and expected error on the track is measured in hundreds of miles. And that is true under the best of circumstances where models do not vacillate and/or the steering mechanisms are fairly straight forward… that was never the case for Irma nor for Maria.

Those have been explained in my tweets and here in these blogs.

The spread in some [More]

Maria heading north in days ahead

  • 5:00 pm Friday, September 22nd, 2017 by Kirk Mellish



A ragged eye has re-appeared during the past several hours, but
overall the satellite presentation of Maria has not changed much
during the past several hours. The initial intensity is therefore
held at 110 kt pending data new data from an ongoing NOAA research
mission and an upcoming Air Force Reserve flight. According to
various analyses, Maria is under the influence of 20 kt of
shear from the southwest, which has apparently eroded the eyewall a
bit on that side of the storm. This shear may abate some in about
24 hours, although Maria will also [More]

Maria heads north over next 5 days

  • 6:32 am Thursday, September 21st, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

Maria back to Major Hurricane status Cat 3.

Severe flooding continues in Puerto Rico, especially mountainous terrain. Hurricane conditions continue for the Northeastern Dominican Republic.

Although the large, 40 n mi diameter, eye of the hurricane is still
a little ragged-looking, it is gradually becoming better defined,
and a ring of cold cloud tops is intensifying around the eye. The
current intensity estimate is 115 mph based on earlier Air Force
Hurricane Hunter data and recent Dvorak classifications from TAFB
and SAB. Maria is likely to move over warm waters with moderate
southwesterly vertical shear for the next couple of days. Maria’s
well-developed upper-level outflow suggests that shear is [More]

The dance of Maria and Jose

  • 5:14 pm Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

While other sources have been writing off any East Coast mainland USA impact from Maria I’ve been advising not to write it off all week even-though the odds looked low for a direct strike. They still do, but yet another reminder of the normal and expected average error at 5-10 days is huge. Were it to impact the East Coast it would be expected to be a fairly weak storm.

BUT keep in mind I prefer an ensemble and supercluster approach instead of individual deterministic operational model output.

And this upper level trough coming in from West means business. So – IF [More]

Maria still a monster, Jose chugs on

  • 5:51 am Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 by Kirk Mellish

The last radar image from the San Juan WSR-88D was received at 0950
UTC when Maria’s eye was located only about 5 n mi off the
southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. Subsequent 1-minute imagery from
the GOES-16 satellite, as well as surface observations, indicate
that the eye made landfall a little south of Yabucoa Harbor, Puerto
Rico, around 1015 UTC. Now that the center is moving over the
mountainous terrain of the island, the eye has become cloud filled,
and the infrared satellite presentation has degraded. Without radar
velocity data, the initial intensity is incredibly uncertain, but my
best guess is 120 kt based on a typical inland decay [More]