by Mark Albert
Animation shows Category 4 Hurricanes Irma and Jose, the first time on record two Category 4 hurricanes have been in the Atlantic at the same time; courtesy: NASA-NOAA
WASHINGTON (TVR) – Hurricane Jose weakened as it churned far from land Monday, backing off its 120mph winds that roared northwest of Puerto Rico, and poised to “linger” in the Western Atlantic for days, stalled in its one-time march toward the mainland of the United States.
Jose, now a category two hurricane, had threatened some of the same Caribbean islands already walloped by Hurricane Irma.
Forecasters predict Jose will turn toward the east Tuesday as it slows, then moving to the southeast on Wednesday, remaining “well to the east” of the Bahamas, a relief for many in the Caribbean.
Along with Hurricane Irma, it had been the first time two hurricanes with 150mph and higher winds have been recorded in the Atlantic at the same time.
Meanwhile, then-Hurricane Katia made landfall in Mexico early Saturday and then weakened into a tropical depression.
Jose is the 10th named storm of the already “above-normal” 2017 hurricane season, and the third major hurricane of the year.
Once on a path for the East Coast of the United States, Jose has now veered northward slightly and looped around a bit.
It is an “extremely dangerous” hurricane that threatens part of the Caribbean.
American Airlines issued a travel waiver for passengers flying to or from eight airports in the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, for Sept 7-10.
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In addition, Katia became the 11th named hurricane this year, when it formed it the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, and made landfall late Friday night on the coast of Mexico, before being downgraded to a tropical depression.
No impact with the United States is forecast.
Katia had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and strong winds extended up to 65 miles from its center.
Hurricane warnings had been in place for Cabo Rojo to Laguna Verde in Mexico, as a “dangerous storm surge” of five to seven feet is expected, along with “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” the forecast states.
American Airlines issued a travel waiver for flights to or from Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) and Puebla, Mexico (PBC) for Sept. 8-9.
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Hurricane Jose initially headed toward the U.S. even as Irma takes aim at Florida and there is still ongoing flooding in parts of the South due to Hurricane Harvey, which struck the U.S. last week as the strongest storm to hit the mainland in a dozen years.
The catastrophic flooding and record rainfall forced the closure of 11 airports, thousands of rescues, mandatory evacuations, and 18,000 cancelled flights, FlightAware said.
Cruise ships such as Carnival Cruise Line’s Freedom, Valor, and Breeze could not dock or had to make alternate plans.
As oil refineries closed along the Texas coastline, gas prices rose to the highest level in two years, right at the start of the extended Labor Day weekend.
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NOAA has predicted the 2017 hurricane season will be “above-normal” this year, with far-reaching implications for airlines, cruise ships, and travelers in North America.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its hurricane forecast to increase the number of named storms and major hurricanes it expects, as well as predicting a “higher likelihood” of an above-normal season.
In fact, the hurricane season that began June 1st and lasts until the end of November could be “the most active since 2010,” NOAA said in its forecast.
“This season has had a running start,” Ben Friedman, NOAA’s acting administrators, told reporters this month.
“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” added Dr. Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center.
NOAA forecasters predict the 2017 hurricane season will be “extremely active,” with 14 to 19 named storms.
The outlook is based on warmer waters in the Atlantic and a reduced chance of an El Nino pattern forming, which can prevent storms from gathering strength.
That’s almost the total number of storms in an entire average season, NOAA said.
Three of the storms hit the United States, with Irma possibly the fourth to do so.
“As we enter the height of hurricane season, it’s important for everyone to know who issues evacuation orders in their community, heed the warnings, update their insurance and have a preparedness plan,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long in a statement.
Before Harvey struck, a major hurricane with sustained winds of 111 mpg and higher had not made landfall in the U.S. in 12 years, not since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, CNN reported.
This is a developing story and will be updated…
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