Through last week and the weekend, weather folks and computer forecasting models were dismissive of Hurricane Jose’s chances of heading for the U.S. east coast. Jose’s route based on atmospheric conditions including prevailing winds and Bermuda high pressure area just didn’t support much reasonable logic that things could change so drastically that Jose could in fact become a threat to the U.S. mainland.
With Irma winding down and many other atmospheric observations taken into consideration, computer projections of Jose have done a 180 from showing a storm finishing its life cycle well off into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean to showing a storm taking aim at our eastern seaboard. The image above is from America’s primary in-house, long-range weather model, the Global Forecast System model. It currently shows the Delmarva Peninsula and Washington, D.C. area as a point of U.S. landfall for a formidable Jose. While details on track, intensity, and timing will certainly change many times yet, and a U.S. landfall is not imminent — the track itself could still easily change by 200 or 300+ miles yet — it is quite stunning to see such a possible drastic change in course.
Washington, D.C., by the way, has occasionally fielded the effects from tropical weather systems in the last century including the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane of 1933, Hurricane Ginger in 1971, Tropical Storm Bret in 1981, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 — though these would pale to a realized Jose shown above.
Thursday, September 14, 2017 1:17pm update:
Tricky, tricky — Here’s an updated display of America’s Global Forecast System weather model. Jose is still shown here as a formidable hurricane — but remaining out into the Atlantic Ocean 350 miles east of Washington, D.C. — still too close to our eastern seaboard for comfort at the moment.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 2:18pm update:
Compare the computer model image from 6 days ago with the current satellite image — not too shabby at all — especially considering the computer model was for yesterday’s weather, and the storm has since weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm and moved a bit more to the north. I waited until today to share a final update on Jose since the storm is closer to the coast. Thankfully, the original computer model from 9 days ago didn’t and isn’t going to happen.
Jose has maximum sustained winds, winds within the storm that can persist for a continuous minute, of 70 miles per hour. The storm will weaken gradually with very little movement, so New England can breathe a sigh of relief for this one. Jose is centered 140 miles south, southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, so dangerous surf and rip current conditions would be present in places like Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, along with a couple inches of rainfall — but that’s nothing compared to what this storm could have done.
Hurricane Maria, lower right on the satellite image, just walloped Puerto Rico last night and today. At this time, I would not expect significant impacts from this storm along the U.S. east coast or Gulf of Mexico region. Special attention always has to be paid to the tropics and any of these weather makers though. On average, the potential for tropical storm and hurricane development drops drastically after about October 20th and then drastically goes up again the following August.