MARIA to make cat 5 landfall in St Croix and Puerto Rico

Tuesday 19th September 2017

From west to east

Hurricane JOSE is 250 miles south east of Atlantic City moving north at 5 knots with maximum winds of 70 knots and decreasing. JOSE is at peak hurricane severity index rating of 11 out of 50 (6 for size and 5 for intensity) and will be downgraded shortly. JOSE will bring sub-tropical wind conditions and rain to coastal areas of New Jersey and the New York tonight and will make its closest point of approach to southern New England as a tropical storm on Wednesday. Beyond Wednesday, as JOSE weakens, it will become more influenced by the jetstream and is expected to meander aimlessly offshore as a weakening cyclone. This is all but done and dusted.

One wishes the same could be said of hurricane MARIA. Now some 120 miles south east of St Croix and headed west-nor'west at 12 knots, this is close to a vicious category 5 strength again. With sustained winds of a paint-peeling 170 knots, this has a current HSI rating of 27 (5 for size and 22 for intensity) and is expected to deepen further to 32 (10 for size and 22 for intensity). As the HSI ratings show, this is relatively small with a predicted peak tropical wind storm strength radius of 160 miles but very intense indeed. Less of a scythe. more of an electric drill, MARIA will strike St. Croix and Puerto Rico as a cat 5 hurricane tomorrow morning. As for a forward path, I've delayed posting this as we have been waiting for track confidence. Certainly, the consensus has this turning seaward after passing the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday but as late as midnight last night, at least one credible (i.e. non-Canadian) modeller was pitching a Florida east coast landfall. This seems to have gone away, thankfully. As for impact, catastrophic damage is likely in Puerto Rico and St Croix, along with severe flash flooding and mudslides with widespread flash flooding over the eastern part of the Dominican Republic.

Tropical depression LEE has weakened to a remnant low some 1,000 miles north-nor'east of the mouth of the Amazon moving to the northwest at 8 knots. This has had its day.

Disturbance Forty Two has been identified off the west coast of Africa moving to the west-nor'west at 18 knots. We like this direction which usually indicates an early turn into the sub-tropical eastern Atlantic.

Stand by for a violent landfall in St Croix and Puerto Rico.