The dance of Maria and Jose 

Posted: 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.


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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 Maria has NOT made Landfall on US East Coast by 9/27 she never will.


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LONG-TERM MARIA *possible* TRACK:5dayfcst_wbg_conus

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft found that Maria’s
center moved off the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico just before
1800 UTC, but the hurricane appears to have taken quite a hit from
the high mountains of the island. The aircraft measured a maximum
flight-level wind of 106 kt to the east of the center and SFMR
surface winds as high as 91 kt. The initial intensity is therefore
set to 95 kt. The central pressure has also risen considerably, and
the latest report from the airplane is 957 mb.

Maria may have taken a temporary jog west-northwestward across
Puerto Rico, likely due to topographic effects, but the longer-term
motion remains northwestward, or 305/10 kt. Maria should maintain
a northwestward motion for the next 36 hours while it remains on
the southwestern periphery of a mid-level high over the western
Atlantic. After 36 hours, Maria is expected to turn northward
between the high and a broad trough extending from Tropical Storm
Jose southwestward into the Gulf of Mexico. The updated track
guidance remains in excellent agreement on this scenario, and the
overall guidance envelope has shifted a bit eastward on this cycle.
The new NHC forecast is therefore nudged a little east of the
previous forecast toward the various consensus aids.

It may take some time for Maria’s structure to reorganize itself
now that it is back over water. Although the intensity models are
not all that enthusiastic about strengthening, the environment
looks conducive for intensification, and the NHC forecast lies at
the upper bound of the guidance, closest to the HWRF solution. It
would not be surprising, however, if Maria eventually strengthens
more than shown here. Some weakening is expected by days 4 and 5
due to increased shear, as well as Maria possibly moving over the
cold wake of Tropical Storm Jose to the east of the Carolinas.

We would like to thank the crew of the latest Air Force Reserve
mission for their incredible service today. After beginning their
mission this morning before the center first moved onshore, the crew
went above and beyond, returning to Curacao to refuel, and then
heading back to Puerto Rico to catch Maria’s center when it first
moved back off the coast. The data collected by the crew was
incredibly important for us to analyze Maria’s intensity and
structure after moving across the island, and we are grateful for
their effort.

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NOTE how the cone of uncertainty for JOSE is a circle, unusual and representing little overall movement and/or wobbling from weak steering currents:

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Just something to 👀 for now…

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