Hur­ri­cane Jose may threaten New York

Trop­i­cal storm head­ing to­ward Baja Cal­i­for­nia

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Emma Ock­er­man

Hur­ri­cane Jose may threaten New York City and other ar­eas of the East Coast by next week, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter, while Norma is aim­ing for Mex­ico’s Baja Cal­i­for­nia and a new sys­tem gath­ers strength in the Caribbean as a busy trop­i­cal weather sea­son bores on.

Jose was about 485 miles south-south­east of Cape Hat­teras, North Carolina, af­ter re­de­vel­op­ing into a Cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane late Fri­day. Jose’s path could put it near New Jersey and New York by Wed­nes­day morn­ing, although it may weaken to a trop­i­cal storm again by then, the cen­ter said.

The storm may add to an al­ready dev­as­tat­ing 2017 At­lantic hur­ri­cane sea­son, com­ing just af­ter Hur­ri­cane Har­vey in­un­dated Texas and Hur­ri­cane Irma raked Florida’s west coast, leav­ing dozens of peo­ple dead and up­end­ing en­ergy and agri­cul­ture mar­kets. In 2012, Su­per­storm Sandy cre­ated about $70 bil­lion of dam­age af­ter hit­ting the New York met­ro­pol­i­tan re­gion.

Jose is mov­ing north­west at 6 mph with max­i­mum sus­tained winds of 80 mph. Lit­tle change in strength is fore­cast dur­ing the next two days, the cen­ter said.

Data from an Air Force Re­serve air­craft in­di­cate that Jose has in­creased in size, the NHC said. This widens the band of hur­ri­cane-force and trop­i­cal storm-force winds ex­tend­ing to­ward the coast.

Life-threat­en­ing rip cur­rents are ex­pected along parts of the U.S. East Coast, and trop­i­cal storm watches may be needed for por­tions of the area from North Carolina to New Eng­land dur­ing the next day or two, ac­cord­ing to the ad­vi­sory, the 46th so far.

Jose could af­fect five re­finer­ies along the East Coast that are able to process about 1.1 mil­lion bar­rels a day of oil, Bloomberg data showed.

If it con­tin­ues to­ward New York City, Jose could dis­rupt ves­sels car­ry­ing crude oil, petro­chem­i­cals and re­fined prod­ucts along the At­lantic seaboard, “par­tic­u­larly those mak­ing de­liv­er­ies to New York Har­bor,” Shunondo Basu, a Bloomberg New En­ergy Fi­nance me­te­o­rol­o­gist and nat­u­ral gas an­a­lyst in New York, said on Fri­day.

Still, some fore­cast­ers see Jose stay­ing far enough off­shore to avoid any ma­jor im­pact to the U.S. The hur­ri­cane cen­ter’s mar­gin of er­ror for a storm five days out is about 225 miles, on av­er­age.

Ac­cuWeather Inc. sees the storm track­ing close enough to the coast — within 200 miles — to pro­duce heavy seas and gusty winds, as well as to de­liver rain to coastal ar­eas early in the week.

Land­fall in New Eng­land dur­ing the mid­dle of the week can’t be ruled out, se­nior me­te­o­rol­o­gist Dan Py­dynowski said in a state­ment. If land­fall were to oc­cur, the most likely lo­ca­tion would be far east­ern Long Is­land or south­east­ern New Eng­land, es­pe­cially Cape Cod.

There’s a 50 per­cent chance of trop­i­cal storm­force winds for Nan­tucket, Mas­sachusetts, by Thurs­day, said Jeff Masters, co­founder of Weather Un­der­ground in Ann Ar­bor, Michi­gan.

If Jose con­tin­ues on its path, the most im­me­di­ate im­pact could be high surf and con­sid­er­able beach ero­sion along the shores of the mid-At­lantic and New Eng­land coasts, Masters said.

Norma, mean­while, has weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm as it heads north to­ward Mex­ico’s Baja Cal­i­for­nia penin­sula.

The storm was about 220 miles south of the pop­u­lar tourist des­ig­na­tion, Cabo San Lu­cas. Trop­i­cal storm warn­ings and watches are in ef­fect, with heavy rains likely and max­i­mum sus­tained winds of about 65 mph.

As the busy 2017 storm sea­son con­tin­ues, a de­pres­sion in the Caribbean was el­e­vated on Satur­day to Trop­i­cal Storm Maria and could strengthen rapidly. Hur­ri­cane watches are in ef­fect for An­tigua, Bar­buda, St. Kitts, Ne­vis, and Montser­rat, with storm watches for sev­eral other is­lands.

With con­di­tions fa­vor­able, the storm “has the po­ten­tial to be a hur­ri­cane by the time it passes through the Lesser An­tilles Is­lands on Tuesday morn­ing,” Masters of Weather Un­der­ground said.

A de­pres­sion west of the Cabo Verde Is­lands in the cen­tral At­lantic Ocean, mean­while, strength­ened into Trop­i­cal Storm Lee, the NHC said. Lee is fore­cast to drift slowly west or west-north­west for a few days and is not cur­rently threat­en­ing land.

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