Maria Makes Landfall In Puerto Rico, Long Term Future Remains Uncertain

Hello everyone!

Major Hurricane Maria has made landfall in Puerto Rico as a high end category 4 storm with sustained surface winds of 155 mph. Wind gusts, and winds at higher elevations are both much higher.

GOES-16 1 minute visible imagery shows Maria’s center over Puerto Rico’s high mountains. Interaction with this terrain has resulted in weakening, with a clear eye no longer visible. However, that makes this storm no less dangerous as winds well over 100 mph continue to rake the island. Torrential rains will continue as well, with rainfall totals nearing two feet in the higher terrain. Flash flooding and mudslides will both be big issues today and tomorrow as Maria begins to move away from the island.

Puerto Rico’s radar has been knocked out by Maria, so GOES-16 1 minute imagery is your best bet for following the storm’s every move. Curious about satellite imagery? This video will show you how to use satellite imagery at weather.us.

Maria will move NW away from Puerto Rico tomorrow, at which point its future becomes a little more uncertain. A wobble south, towards Hispaniola, would result in a weaker system that may track farther west. The current forecast track takes the storm just north of Hispaniola, where land interaction effects would be minimal. The longer term forecast for the US east coast is even more uncertain. A move west towards the coast is possible, as is a turn to the east out to sea. Either way, cooler water temperatures and increasing wind shear will result in weakening as the storm moves NW and then N this weekend.

Curious about this map, what it shows, and why it’s helpful? Check out this video for an explanation.

Across the US, the weather will generally be quiet today. Jose will continue to bring gusty showers to parts of coastal New England, and a weakening cold front could touch off some strong storms in the Midwest. For more information on each, head on over to weather.us.

For more information on the local forecast for Maine and New Hampshire, check out my local blog post from this morning.

More updates this evening.

-Jack

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