Hurricane Jose could pose threat to parts of East Coast
Hurricane Jose continued to meander in the Atlantic on Saturday, spinning about 500 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
A sprawling high-pressure system over the central Atlantic is preventing Jose from heading further out to sea, meaning it could pose a threat to parts of the East Coast through the coming week.
After weakening to a tropical storm on Thursday, Jose returned to Category 1 hurricane status Friday night. Its maximum sustained winds were 80 mph as of midday Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Under weak upper-level winds, Jose had made limited forward progress over the past week. However, over the next few days, the western edge of the high-pressure system that is trapping Jose is expected to weaken. This should create a path for escape.
The consensus track from the latest weather model updates now keeps Jose well off the Mid-Atlantic coast. But residents of Long Island and coastal New England should pay increased attention to Jose as the week progresses.
It is unclear what the intensity of Jose will be at that point — it may even be acting somewhat like a wintertime nor’easter by then. Regardless, the likelihood of impacts such as strong winds and at least minor storm surge is heightened.
Tropical storm watches could be issued for parts of the East Coast, over the next day or two, according to a National Hurricane Center advisory.
Jose could affect five refineries along the East Coast with a combined capacity of about 1.1 million barrels a day of oil. If it continues toward New York City, it could disrupt vessels carrying crude oil, petrochemicals and refined products along the Atlantic seaboard, “particularly those making deliveries to New York Harbor,” said Shunondo Basu, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance meteorologist and natural gas analyst in New York.
Along with Jose, tropical weather in the Atlantic remains extremely active. Tropical Storm Lee was named Saturday morning off the African coast, to the west of the Cape Verde Islands.
Out ahead of Lee, a potentially more ominous low-pressure disturbance is gathering steam. Likely to soon be christened Maria, this area of organized convection is showing signs of intensification. It was tracking due west toward the Lesser Antilles.
Unfortunately, conditions similar to those that allowed Hurricane Irma to intensify and track through parts of the island chain are still more or less in place. Current model projections are worrisome for a region still reeling from that storm’s effects. The hurricane center is forecasting a hurricane in the days ahead, and it is possible some places could take a second direct hit over the coming week
Meanwhile in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Norma remained stationary south of the popular tourist destination of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect., with heavy rains likely.