A Strengthening Cat. 1 Hurricane Maria Bears Paying Attention To.... (credit: Meteorologist Stu Ostro)
DISCUSSION: As the tropical Atlantic basin continues to remain a hot topic over the past couple of weeks between the landfalls of both Hurricane Harvey and more recently of Hurricane Irma, the barrage of tropical cyclone threats is certainly not showing signs of slowing down. As of this afternoon (i.e., per Atlantic Standard Time), a more recent development in the more central portion of the tropical Atlantic (i.e., Hurricane Maria) has continued to show increasing signs of better organization and positive (but concerning) structural changes. First and foremost, the core convection associated with Hurricane Maria has become much more symmetric both in and around the center of Maria's circulation. Therefore, as this increasing and deeper convection continues to become better organized with time, this is a sign that the storm is likely beginning to undergo a period of intensification.
A couple of critical questions that still remain are directly connected to what track Maria ultimately takes over the next couple of days. If Maria takes a more northerly track within what the lead forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida are anticipating as the current forecast track cone of uncertainty, then this developing tropical cyclone will predominantly evade any real land-based interaction over the next couple of days. Therefore, if there ultimately ends up being very limited land-based interaction, this will allow Maria's core circulation to remain over a large swath of more open and warmer ocean sea-surface temperatures. Furthermore, over the next couple of days, Maria will be moving through a region with little to no low/mid-level vertical wind shear. Hence, the next few days will more than likely lend for a very favorable atmospheric environment for much more further intensification of what as of 5:00 PM EDT has now been upgraded to a Category 1 Hurricane Maria.
Be sure to stay tuned both right here at the Global Weather and Climate Center as well as with the National Hurricane Center for the very latest on Maria as we move forward!
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz