TROPICAL STORM MARIA – update #2
Bearing down on the Caribbean islands, TROPICAL STORM MARIA has shifted its track slightly to the west-northwest and has slowed to around 14 mph.
As of the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, TROPICAL STORM MARIA is currently 135 miles northeast of Barbados and about 275 miles east-southeast of Guadeloupe. The tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of only 40 knots (45 mph) with gusts to 50 knots, barely keeping the storm classified as a tropical storm. The storm’s minimum central pressure is 1003 mb.
The official forecast by the NHC has TROPICAL STORM MARIA passing over the northern Lesser Antilles, clipping the northeastern part of the Caribbean Sea, barely touching Puerto Rico, and then heading northwest and staying well east of the Bahamas. And with the exception of the NOGAPS model, the computer models are in general agreement with this forecast through Monday morning.
According to the discussion at the NHC, TROPICAL STORM MARIA is forecast to continue moving west-northwest as it moves along the south side of a ridge of high pressure in the central Atlantic Ocean. The western side of the high pressure is expected to weaken as a trough moves into the southeastern United States, and once it does so, the tropical cyclone should be making a turn to the north and then northeast out to sea.
Assuming that the atmosphere falls into play, the biggest threat to TROPICAL STORM MARIA will possibly be Bermuda. Otherwise, the east coast of the U.S. will probably see some cool waves and surf conditions as the tropical cyclone moves north into the northern Atlantic Ocean.
While TROPICAL STORM MARIA has winds barely strong enough to keep it classified as a tropical storm, the storm is forecast to go through a period of strengthening later in the forecast period. Chances are good that the storm will be a Category 1 hurricane by the time it passes east of the Bahamas.
TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS exist for the northern Lesser Antilles including Guadeloupe, St. Maartin, Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.