2017 Atlantic hurricane season is far from over; US remains at risk for additional strikes
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
September 23, 2017, 4:30:01 AM EDT
Additional hurricanes, beyond that of Jose and Maria, are likely over the Atlantic and may threaten the United States for the rest of the 2017 season.
Hurricane season runs through the end of November, and it is possible the Atlantic may continue to produce tropical storms right up to the wire and perhaps into December.
"I think we will have four more named storms this year, after Maria," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
"Of these, three may be hurricanes and one may be a major hurricane," Kottlowski said.
The numbers include the risk of one to two additional landfalls in the United States.
As of Sept. 18, there have been four named systems that made landfall, including Harvey and Irma that made landfall in the U.S. as Category 4 hurricanes. The other two tropical storms were Cindy, near the Texas/Louisiana border in June, and Emily, just south of Tampa, Florida, at the end of July.
Jose meandered near the Northeast coast, triggering rough surf, coastal flooding, rain and gusty winds this past week.
Meanwhile, major Hurricane Maria impacted the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos late this past week. This followed devastation in Puerto Rico from Wednesday. Maria will, at the very least, have indirect impact on the mainland U.S. from rough surf and could approach the middle or upper part of the U.S. coast later next week.
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Dangerous surf, beach erosion and gusty winds to continue as Jose lingers off Northeast coast
Maria brushes North Carolina with gusty winds, coastal flooding before heading out to sea Wednesday night
Maria to threaten lives, property in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos
On average, strong west to northwest winds with cooler and drier air tend to scour tropical systems out of the western Atlantic during October and November.
However, this year, AccuWeather meteorologists are concerned that these winds may not occur until later in the autumn or may be too weak to steer tropical threats away from the U.S.
The warm weather pattern that has developed over the Central states and expanded into the eastern U.S. is a product of that development.
Driving this warm weather pattern is a large area of high pressure, centered near Bermuda. The clockwise flow around this system will pump warm, humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic.
Tropical storms and hurricanes that brew will get caught up in the flow around this high pressure area.
While interruptions in this flow and the warm and humid pattern are likely in the northeastern U.S., it will generally persist in key tropical development areas well into October.
"When we get a pattern such as this, we usually have two to three named storms in October and can have one in November or December," Kottlowski said.
Interests from the Gulf of Mexico through the Atlantic Seaboard and the Caribbean should check in frequently on the latest in the tropics during this active season.
"Following Maria, there is little support for additional tropical development across the Atlantic basin through next Friday," Kottlowski said.
"There may be some tropical development over the western Caribbean or the southern Gulf of Mexico during early October, but that is not a certainty at this time."
While past hurricanes in October have no bearing on what will happen this season, there have been some damaging hurricanes during the middle of the autumn in the eastern and southern U.S. These include Hazel in 1954, Wilma in 2005, Sandy in 2012 and Matthew in 2016.
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