With the Florida Keys still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Irma, people are closely watching a new storm that, at least in the early stages, seems to be following a similar path: Tropical Storm Maria, soon to be Hurricane Maria.
Is Hurricane Maria headed toward the Florida Keys and cities like Key west, though?
As of September 17, that was not certain. The storm’s earlier stages have it on a similar course, headed toward Caribbean islands like Barbuda and the Dominican Republic, but some of the Maria models are then projecting that the storm could turn north before reaching Florida. This is not clear as the projections are just that and could change.
However, look at one of the recent spaghetti models from the storm:
Irma was a monster, with wind speeds of 185 mph as she hit the Caribbean. Although Maria became a hurricane on Sunday, and her path imperiled the Leeward Islands (sound familiar?), her wind speeds on Sunday were 65 mph and grew to 110 by September 18, according to The National Hurricane Center. Irma’s wind speeds were 185 mph at that point.
The hazardous weather outlook for the Florida Keys and Key West reads as follows on September 17:
DAY ONE…TODAY AND TONIGHT
“Isolated showers and thunderstorms capable of producing cloud to surface lightning are possible today and tonight. Heat index values will be in the mid to upper 90s this afternoon.”
DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY
“Mainly isolated showers and thunderstorms are possible Monday through Wednesday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible Thursday and Friday. Cloud to surface lightning is the main threat. Afternoon heat index values of 95-100 are possible Tuesday and Wednesday.”
There’s no mention of Hurricane Maria so far. See the 7-day forecast for Key West here. So far, it also doesn’t mention hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
Here’s another look at Maria’s projected forecast:
And one more:
Cyclocane has some of the best updated spaghetti models on Maria. See the Cyclocane Tropical Storm Maria spaghetti model page here and here. The weather tracking site also has a page of other models for following the storm’s path. Cyclocane has a page for Tropical Storm Lee too.
SebastianDaily.com notes, “The latest Spaghetti model for Tropical Storm Maria may show no threat to Florida at this time, but the National Hurricane Center warns it’s too early to predict a path.” After all, Irma shifted course, with models originally predicting an east coast landfall or showing the storm heading back to sea before she struck the Naples area.
The National Hurricane Center uses a forecast cone. It’s more ominous looking for the Florida Keys because it doesn’t show as long-term of a projection as the spaghetti models do. However, it’s starting to show the northern turn.
Here’s another look:
For comparison purposes, this was the cone for Irma early on:
See the National Hurricane Center’s updated Maria page here.
Nothing in Florida – including Key West and the Florida Keys – makes the September 17 list of hurricane watches and warnings put out by the National Hurricane Center:
SUMMARY OF 200 PM AST…1800 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 405 MI…655 KM SE OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…65 MPH…100 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 290 DEGREES AT 15 MPH…24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…994 MB…29.36 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
The government of France has issued a Hurricane Warning for
Guadeloupe and a Tropical Storm Warning for Martinique.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* St. Lucia
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* St. Vincent and the Grenadines