And then there were three- Jose, Lee, and Maria! On Saturday afternoon, a third area of low pressure strengthened to a tropical storm, bringing up the total to one hurricane and two tropical storms in the Atlantic basin.
Hurricane Jose remains a Category 1 hurricane and will eventually go out to sea. Rough surf and strong rip currents will continue to be a concern along the East coast this weekend, but the strongest of winds will stay well off shore. Tropical Storm Lee is the farthest east and is not a threat to the United States or Caribbean Islands.
Tropical Storm Maria is expected to intensify into a hurricane by the end of the weekend and will affect portions of the Leeward Islands early next week. Hurricane and tropical storm watches have been issued for portions of the Lesser Antilles in anticipation of dangerous wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. Unfortunately, some of these islands were just nailed by Category 5 Hurricane Irma last week and recovery efforts are far from over. It is too early to tell where else may be impacted by Maria through the coming week, but additional watches and warnings are likely.
This time of year is typically the most active time in the Tropics. The peak of the hurricane season stretches from mid-August to mid-October. Hurricane season comes to an end November 30, however, development is still possible thereafter. Conditions are currently very suitable for tropical development, with sea surface temperatures well over 80 degrees Fahrenheit and weak wind shear.
-Meteorologist Viki Knapp