Tropical Storm Jose is expected to strengthen into a hurricane again later Friday and turn north, threatening to bring rain and wind to the US Northeast next week.
Jose remains out in the Atlantic Ocean and is moving toward the northwest, and that motion will bring it closer to the United States through the weekend. Just how far it moves west before turning to the north will tell forecasters a great deal about the likelihood of whether it will make landfall somewhere along the Eastern US coastline.
The National Hurricane Center has included parts of the United States, from New Jersey up to New England, in its “cone of uncertainty,” which shows the probable track of the center of a storm over a five-day period. The cone includes the New Jersey coastline, Long Island, most of Connecticut and Massachusetts and all of Rhode Island.
A majority of the models keep the center of the storm over the ocean, including the major global models from the Americans — GFS — and Europeans — ECMWF.
Still, the proximity to land will likely bring strong gusty winds and rain to the Northeast, including New York City, by the middle of next week. In addition, tropical storm-force winds could extend to North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The official forecast track from the hurricane center puts Jose as a strong tropical storm Wednesday 225 miles southeast of New York. Coincidentally, the average track error for the forecast at five days is 225 miles. The forecast gives about a 1-in-4 chance of seeing tropical storm-force winds — more than 39 mph — in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
The storm has maximum sustained winds near 70 mph. Jose is looking better organized on satellite and appears set to gain strength over the next couple of days. An Air Force plane is en route to determine if Jose’s winds have reached 75 mph, which would make it a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the hurricane center said. At one point last weekend, it was a Category 4 hurricane.
But the window for intensification looks to last the weekend only. After that, an increase in wind shear and cooler ocean temperatures should begin to weaken Jose as it approaches the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts next week.
No matter its path, Jose’s ocean swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the northern coasts of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, and the US Southeast, the hurricane center said.
Jose is the sixth named hurricane of this storm season, which lasts through November. Two major hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, have made landfall in the United States already this year.