MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

Tropical Weather Update: Tracking Maria and Local Impacts

Maria Forecast Track

9-23-17 SATURDAY 6PM

Ed Piotrowski - ed@wpde.com

HURRICANE MARIA UPDATE

Maria remains a category 3 hurricane and will likely maintain that intensity through Sunday. Next week, increasing wind shear, dry air and cooler water churned up by Jose over a week ago will induce weakening. The National Hurricane Center forecast reduces Maria's intensity to 75-85 mph by Wednesday.

Maria will wiggle and wobble on its general northward track through Tuesday. By Wednesday, Jose has weakened to the point that it likely will no longer be a player in where Maria goes. This would allow high pressure to the north of Maria to briefly build in and perhaps push Maria northwest closer to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The overnight forecast models picked up on this possibility and shifted Maria's track subtly west, but the morning and early afternoon models show the westward shift had halted.

While the shift does bring Maria uncomfortably close to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, odds still favor the worst of Maria staying out over the ocean. With that said, I can't say exactly where Maria will be in 3-4 days so it's impossible to be precise with what the impacts will be felt on the Outer Banks, but the chances for tropical storm condition (winds > 40mph) are not zero. Based on the current forecast track, I would not be surprised if a tropical storm watch was issued for the Outer Banks Sunday.

The shift in the track closer to the Outer Banks doesn't change the odds for impacts along the South Carolina coast. Maria is still expected to pass hundreds of miles east of us. For that reason, the very low chance of Maria impacting us directly hasn't changed.

BOTTOM LINE

85% chance Maria misses the South Carolina coast. We wouldn't get heavy rain, high wind or storm surge. However, a hurricane far offshore can still cause significant coastal problems, including elevated tides causing minor coastal flooding and beach erosion, dangerous surf and a high rip current risk. Larger swells will begin arriving this weekend and last through next week so please be careful if you head to the beach.

15% chance Maria directly impacts the South Carolina coast with heavy rain, high wind and storm surge. Until that chance is zero, keep watching!

By Thursday a big dip in the jet stream will come along and sweep Maria out to sea.

I'll have another update Sunday.

Trending