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Hurricane Jose to brush East Coast

The forecast track of Hurricane Jose as of 5 a.m., Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (National Hurricane Center)

Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for a large portion of the East Coast from southern Delaware to Cape Cod. Hurricane Jose is still centered about 305 miles southeast of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Jose is currently tracking north as it passes on the western periphery of an upper ridge centered to its east.

Jose still has 90-mph winds, putting it just shy of Category 2 hurricane status. It will likely maintain intensity as a Category 1 hurricane for the next two or three days, but little if any additional strengthening is expected. A general northward movement of Jose will continue over the next few days as the storm works closer to the East Coast. Wind gusts around 40 mph are possible across the Outer Banks on Monday into Monday night as Jose passes between Bermuda and the Outer Banks.

In the longer range, Jose continues to be a concern for parts of the Northeast, New England and Atlantic Canada. The general motion of Jose could have the storm pass very close to eastern Long Island and southeastern New England by later Tuesday into Wednesday. Even a landfall cannot be ruled out in this area, especially for Cape Cod. The greatest impacts in the form of strong wind gusts and heavy rain will be felt across eastern Long Island, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard late Tuesday through Wednesday.

Regardless of the exact storm track, dangerous surf and rip currents will impact Bermuda, the Eastern Seaboard and Atlantic Canada, right on through the middle of next week. Waves in excess of 10 feet will pound the coast through the middle part of next week. Waves of 10 feet or higher are possible from the Outer Banks to New England.

Coastal flooding is also a major concern. Astronomical influences will push tide levels 1-2 feet above normal from the Outer Banks to New England Monday through Wednesday. This will be exacerbated by wave action and strong onshore winds, the degree to which will determine the exact impacts, that could prove severe. Beyond Wednesday, Jose will slow down and meander off of the Northeast U.S. coast while weakening, but the impacts will lessen significantly.

Maria to blast the Lesser Antilles

Tropical Storm Maria is closing in on the Lesser Antilles. It is now centered 210 miles east-southeast of Dominica. It is tracking swiftly towards the Islands at 13 mph.

Maria is expected to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane and slam the Leeward Islands and northern Windward Islands with damaging winds, flooding rainfall and storm surge late Monday through Tuesday. Wind gusts greater than 80 mph will batter most of this area, but gusts of 120-140 mph will occur near the center of Maria as it tracks near Dominica and Guadeloupe. This will cause damage to structures and will topple trees and power lines, leading to power outages. Rainfall amounts of 4-8 inches, locally over 12 inches, will cause life-threatening flooding. A storm surge of 3-6 inches will lead to flooding across the Leeward Islands. Some of the same islands impacted by Irma will face another round of damaging winds and flooding rainfall. Any loose objects can easily become airborne and turn into dangerous projectiles. Irma cleanup efforts will be disrupted.

Maria is expected to track toward the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola during the middle of this week as a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher), and will deliver flooding rain, destructive winds well over 100 mph and mudslides. All interests in the Caribbean and United States should monitor Maria through the week into next weekend and early next week. Beyond this point in time, Maria may threaten the Bahamas by next weekend.

Lee in the eastern Atlantic

In addition to Jose and Maria, we also have Tropical Depression Lee. Lee is over the far eastern Atlantic, 980 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. This storm will track off to the west-northwest into the middle of this week as it passes through the open waters of the eastern and central Atlantic. Lee is not expected to impact land and dissipate late Monday.

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