MARIA **PROBABLY** A EAST COAST MISS BUT THERE IS WAY…
It is still too early to say for a fact that hurricane Maria is going to miss the U.S. East Coast but the odds are strongly against it. There is a window of opportunity however that does have to be watched with regard to hurricane Maria and I will show you WHY this window of opportunity exists where the hurricane could turn to the northwest and strike the Mid Atlantic Coast or come fairly close it .
First let's take a look at tropical storm Jose which looks like a large ocean storm. This system is still there and as Jose transitions to extratropical status it is likely to hold together for several more days in its stalled position well to the southeast of Cape Cod Massachusetts.
We can see this on the official track from NHC. Notice again that the hurricane models continue to show that Jose is going to go nowhere and spin around in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.
This is significantly different than what the model data was showing only 2 days ago.
If you recall the model data had Jose drifting SW back towards the Delmarva or Southeast Virginia. This movement in turn creates a "weakness" in the atmosphere at 500 mb and because Jose headed to the West ...the weakness was displaced to the West and this in turn allowed the models to bring hurricane Maria much closer to the East coast.
But with Jose stalled off the southeast of New England coast ...the weakness or path that hurricane Maria can follow is also now displaced to the East. As a result ...the hurricane models continue to shift Maria's tracks further to the east with each model cycle. Thus unless Jose suddenly shift dramatically back to the West ...the weakness in the atmosphere is still going to be well too far to the east and Maria stays East and does not pose a threat to U.S. east coast.
But now that being said ...there is a window of opportunity where Maria could get much closer to the coast. The upper air pattern develops in such a way on SEPT 26-27 that Maria MIGHT turn to the NW and get closer to the Middle Atlantic Coast --but still not strike the coast. Let me show you.
This map shows you the upper air pattern at 60 hours / valid 8:00 AM Saturday morning. Notice the enormous RIDGE which has developed and I have highlighted over the Midwest in the dark RED area. You see the black line that I have highlighted ? That Line shows the eastern side of the RIDGE. And we can see Jose is still in the upper levels of the atmosphere off the New England Coast and Maria coming out of the Bahamas in the lower right corner.
As the monster trough over the western U.S. pushes steadily eastward ..the huge RIDGE in the jet stream over the Midwest gets pushed eastward into the Middle Atlantic and New England. This is one the reasons why this weekend is going to be so warm over much of New England... the Middle Atlantic .. and the Ohio Valley. Some of us will see temperatures on Sunday near 90° which is pretty hot for mid and late September. Again notice that I have highlighted the BLACK line showing the eastern side of the RIDGE -- note that the black line is now on the East Coast.
But as the western trough begins to push into the Rockies and Plains the huge RIDGE over the Midwest gets pushed into New England and temporarily blocks Maria from going out to sea. This COULD force the hurricane to shift back to the NW and approach the Mid Atllantic Coast on September 25 or September 26.
We can see this on the European ensemble which has the hurricane a little closer to the coast on the morning of September 27.
But this is a very narrow window because by evening of September 27 that trough over the Plains is moving into the Midwest FAST and the hurricane is going to be forced to turn to the NE and get kick out to sea. This is a monster trough and Marie has no chance of avoiding it.
Behind this trough we see a first real blast of autumn air with the models showing temperatures on the morning of October 1 2 and 3 dropping down into the low 40s over much of Western Virginia ...the Shenandoah Valley ...the mountains of western North Carolina and western and central Maryland.