2017 Hurricane Season Update
With Emphasis on Tropical Weather Affecting Northern Belize
Hurricane Jose, Tropical Storm Lee, Tropical Storm Maria
Updated Sept 18th
Yes, Jose is still hanging around in the open Atlantic, just off the East Coast of the USA.
Hurricane Jose is expected to pass offshore New England then begin another loop, followed by either a landfall in the Northeast USA or a track into the Open Atlantic. Where Jose goes will in a real sense determine where Hurricane Maria will track.
Hurricane Jose will not be a problem for Belize.
Tropical Depression Lee:
Invest 97L, the one closer to Africa, took advantage of its very small window for development and intensified into Tropical Storm Lee on Friday. Lee has managed to maintain Tropical Storm status, but increasingly strong wind sheer is taking a toll on the system. Lee is expected to dissipate in the next 3 or 4 days over the open Atlantic having never affected land. Lee was downgraded to a Tropical Depression Sunday Evening.
Tropical Depression Lee will not be a problem for Belize.
Major Hurricane Maria:
Last week's other Invest, 96L, has developed into Tropical Storm Maria. Maria is over very warm waters and has excellent upper atmosphere support. Hurricane Hunter aircraft have found 100+kt winds in the Northeast quadarant of Maria, making it the fourth Major Hurricane of this very active season.
There is little disagreement amongst the reliable computer models over where Maria will track during the next 5 days, so the NHC track is of fairly high confidence. Rapidly Intensifying Hurricane Maria should track over the Northern Lesser Antilles just South of Irma's Path of Destruction. Forecast to increase in strength to a Major Category 3 or 4 Hurricane, Maria is expected to track over the already reeling Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday and Friday. After Puerto Rico, where Maria goes will be determined in no small way by where Jose ends up.
The longer Jose hangs around in the waters off the USA's East Coast, the more likely Maria will recurve before reaching the mainland. Jose will likely become extra-tropical Monday or Tuesday, which makes Maria's track prediction a little more difficult. We will likely see the models moving Eastward at first, but if Jose dissipates or moves away, the Atlantic Ridge should build in behind it, causing Maria to track more Westerly toward The Central Bahamas and the USA coast. The average margin of error on track predictions over 3 days out is over 200 miles and that is a big cone of uncertainty.
While Maria is bad news for the Lesser Antilles, The Bahamas and potentially Cuba and the USA, it is of no threat to Belize.
When Is It Going To Rain?:
Any Day Now! Forecasting guidance still calls for a couple of inches between now and next Sunday. (We only need 7 more inches to get to normal for month and an additional 10 inches to reach the normal season to date by Sept 30th.)
The Equatorial Pacific has apparently transitioned into a moderate La Nina state. This was not expected, just a couple of months ago there was talk of a coming El Nino! La Nina has not been officially declared because it need to persist for a couple of months. Historical records are hard to come by for relating ENSO states to rainfall in Belize. The last couple of El Nino phases have resulted in below normal rains in Consejo, Neutral ENSO conditions resulted in average or above average rains, and the last 2 La Ninas resulted in low early season rains and heavy late season rains in Consejo, Belize. This is far too small a data set to draw any scientifically valid conclusions, but it does allow for some hope of significant rains in the coming weeks. One can only hope, those last 2 La Ninas did result in above average total rain for their respective years. It should also be noted that September rainfall in both recent La Nina years was near average, and this year we are way below our average September rains.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Basin:
Tropical Storm Formation Is Not Expected Over The Next 3 Days.
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The above information is a compilation of data from several official and unofficial sources and is provided with the understanding that neither Consejo.Bz nor the Author make any warranties, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of this information. Always rely on official statements and releases in potentially life threatening situations. The Author does not claim any of the above commentary or images are original content.