Maria heading north, Tropical Storm Watch issued 

Posted: 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.

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NHC OFFICIAL FORECAST:

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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 kt. Maria will be traversing warm water and
remain in a low shear environment during the next day or so, and
some fluctuations in intensity are possible through Monday.
After that time, Maria is forecast to move over cooler waters left
over from Hurricane Jose. This is likely to result in gradual
weakening, however Maria is forecast to maintain hurricane status
through the entire forecast period.

Maria is moving just west of due north or 350/8 kt. The hurricane is
currently being steered north-northwestward to northward between a
cut-off low over the southeastern U.S. and a subtropical ridge over
the southwestern Atlantic. The forward motion of the hurricane
should slow down over the next couple of days as a ridge builds to
the north of the system over the northeastern United States. After
72 h, Maria should turn east-northeastward and begin to recurve as
the deep-layer flow turns southwestward ahead of large mid-latitude
trough that is forecast to move over the Great Lakes region by the
end of the week. The latest runs of the dynamical models are fairly
similar to the previous ones, with the ECMWF along the western side
of the guidance and the GFS near the eastern edge. The NHC track
is between these solutions, and lies west of the various consensus
aids out of respect for the ECMWF and its ensemble mean.

Since Maria is a large hurricane, the associated tropical-storm-
force winds could reach a portion of the North Carolina in about 48
hours. As a result, a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for a
portion of the coast of North Carolina.

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See prior blog posts on Maria for other info.

In the first week or two of October attention will turn to the Western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico:

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