Hurricane Jose: is it a threat?

Despite all the attention focused on Hurricane Irma, there is a second hurricane still churning in the Atlantic.

Lee en Español: Huracán José: ¿una amenaza?

With Irma diminishing to a tropical storm, people in the United States could soon shift their attention to Hurricane Jose, now meandering around the western Atlantic Ocean roughly 300 miles northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Jose has winds of up to 105 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane. There are fears that it could head towards the Bahamas or the East Coast of the US. However, for the National Hurricane Center it is not easy to assure the path of the hurricane with a high degree of certainty, and it is possible that the state of Florida can get hit again within less than a week.

Jose is expected to maintain hurricane status through the week. “The storm will remain over warm water for the next several days, and this should allow it to maintain a robust circulation,” Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said. “Jose is expected to remain between Bermuda and Hispaniola for the next several days but then eventually move westward late this week and then more northward on the weekend,” he added.

Unlike Irma, which became a monster Category 5 hurricane over the ocean with record winds, Jose is not forecast to become a similarly strong hurricane during. “It is expected to cross its own wake, which will decrease its chance of strengthening, although it will retain hurricane strength” affirms Larry Kelly from the National Weather Service. It is forecast to remain at certain strength in a few days, with winds between 85 and 105 mph but so far it does not constitute a significant threat.

European and Canadian forecast models set the margins for a cone that now points in the direction of North Carolina. This is likely to be more favorable than the previous forecasts that projected the hurricane could approach the East Coast on a more direct westerly path; according to these two models, Florida will not experience a direct hit by Jose.

For the meteorologist Brett Rossio it all depends on how closely Jose passes the Turks and Caicos and eastern Bahamas later this week. Depending on this, it is possible to determine whether its outer bands of rain and wind will have a significant impact on larger populations. Possibilities include direct impacts to islands in the mid-Atlantic, New England or the Canadian East coast. Jose could also be swept completely out to sea next week, posing no direct threat to land, but so far it remains a hurricane that will continue to worry those living in the Caribbean and in certain parts of the US and Canada.

Hurricane Jose is currently looping around the Atlantic, and it is expected to complete a clockwise loop by Thursday or Friday. Nonetheless, forecasters are unsure where the storm will go after this, as there are several posible trajectories and for now, all they can do is to monitor it closely. Hurricanes are notoriously tricky to predict, and many have warned that the current models cannot be completely relied upon.

Jose is the fifth hurricane in the Atlantic so far this season, and one of the three major ones, which are Category 3 or stronger, even now that it has weakened, after having reached category 4 when Irma was hitting the state of Florida last weekend. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November 30.

 

Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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