Maria now a hurricane, Jose not going away

Posted at 7:20 PM, Sep 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-17 19:20:05-04

MIAMI, Fla. — The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida recently upgraded Maria from a tropical storm to a hurricane during its late afternoon update. Also, Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for portions of the east coast of the U.S. because of Hurricane Jose. In addition, a third tropical system — Tropical Depression Lee — continues to churn the waters of the open Atlantic Ocean.

Of these three tropical systems, Jose is the only immediate threat to the U.S. mainland. It’s currently a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. It’s located about 330 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC and is moving northward at about 9 mph:

Jose is expected to continue to move northward, and eventually make a turn to the northeast and southeast as it weakens to a tropical storm, then a tropical depression. Here is a look at the forecast track of Jose, courtesy of the National Hurricane Center (NHC):

As this above graphic shows, the east coast will most likely be spared a direct hit from Jose. However, it will be close enough to the coastline from North Carolina up to parts of Massachusetts that beach erosion, rip currents, and heavy rain will impact some areas. Here is a look at the tropical storm watches and warnings that have been issued for parts of the east coast:

Much further south and east, we have Hurricane Maria. Maria is a minimal category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. It’s approaching the Lesser Antilles, about 140 miles southeast of Barbados. Maria is moving to the west/northwest at 15 mph:

Maria is expected to continue to move toward the west/northwest — possibly slowing down somewhat — and strengthen as it moves toward the Leeward Islands. In fact, hurricane warnings have been issued for portions of the Leeward Islands, and a Hurricane Watch has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Maria is expected to have a wide impact from the Leeward Islands to the Turks and Caicos Islands, and could even impact the U.S. mainland sometime next week. Here is the look at the official NHC forecast track:

Unfortunately, some places that were severely impacted by Hurricane Irma — including Puerto Rico — could also feel the wrath of Hurricane Maria as it is expected to be a category 3 hurricane by Tuesday.

Further out into the Atlantic Ocean, we also have Lee, which is now a tropical depression. Lee has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and is moving to the west at 8 mph. Lee is located about 900 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands:

Lee is expected to weaken over the next couple of days as it turns toward the west/northwest. It’s not a threat to land, nor is it expected to be one for the foreseeable future:

In summary we have three tropical systems in the Atlantic basin right now, and two of them are hurricanes. Hurricane Jose will likely impact much of the U.S. East Coast this week with heavy surf, rip currents, and heavy rain/tropical storm force winds in certain areas. Hurricane Maria could become a major hurricane in the next couple of days with a widespread impact on the Greater and Lesser Antilles this week, and a possible impact on the U.S. mainland next week. Tropical Depression Lee is not expected to impact any land areas.

We’ll be watching the tropics here in the FOX 17 Weather Center in the coming days and weeks and keep you updated!