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It’s the last day of summer, but warmth and hurricanes drag on

Tropical Storm Jose and Hurricane Maria will continue to heavily influence New Jersey’s weather forecast through the weekend.

Spaghetti plots from TropicalTidbits.com
Spaghetti plots from TropicalTidbits.com

Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, September 21, 2017…

#NoWayJose: A Flip-Flopping Mess

Official forecast update for Tropical Storm Jose, as of 5 a.m. Thursday.  (NOAA / NHC)
Official forecast update for Tropical Storm Jose, as of 5 a.m. Thursday. (NOAA / NHC)

In the past 24 hours, Tropical Storm Jose hasn’t moved very much. As of 5 a.m. Thursday, the storm was centered approximately 325 miles due east of New Jersey, hovering about 150 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Still a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, Jose is moving east at 2 mph.

You could walk faster than Tropical Storm Jose.

Late Wednesday, I issued a special forecast update, summarizing three scenarios for Jose in the coming days. To review:
–Scenario #1: Out to sea
–Scenario #2: Hurricane Maria swallows Jose
–Scenario #3: Jose boomerangs back toward the coast

Forecast model spaghetti plot for Tropical Storm Jose, showing little movement over the next 48-72 hours.  (TropicalTidbits.com)
Forecast model spaghetti plot for Tropical Storm Jose, showing little movement over the next 48-72 hours. (TropicalTidbits.com)

Thursday morning’s models — the GFS, the NAM, and the Euro — depict a clear favorite among those three outcomes. And the winner is… #2! (With a little bit of #3 thrown in.)

Jose will U-turn back toward the Jersey Shore over the next few days, reintroducing thicker clouds and a chance for occasional showers. Rough surf and rip currents continue, regardless.

Then, it looks like Hurricane Maria will be close enough to interact with Jose. And the end result will be a slightly stronger Maria and a significantly weakened Jose. Adios, amigo.

So, again… While the Garden State could still feel some weather and surf impacts from Jose, they’ll be nowhere near tropical storm force.

JERSEY SHORE REPORT: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Warming Trend

With Jose mostly out of the picture, we can look forward to a nice warming trend in the coming days. End of summer? Ha! Thermometers will be on the rise.

Our latest forecast calls for high temperatures in the lower to mid 80s on Thursday. Because of increased cloud cover and shower chances on Friday, temps will be a little bit cooler, closer to 80 degrees.

Then, along comes the weekend, and 80s will be the general rule away from the ocean. Look for lower to mid 80s on Saturday and mid to upper 80s on Sunday (and Monday too).

Could we hit 90 degrees somewhere in New Jersey by early next week? Sure! It would be close to a record too.

#HurricaneMaria: Trend is our Friend

Official forecast update for Hurricane Maria, as of 5 a.m. Thursday.  (NOAA / NHC)
Official forecast update for Hurricane Maria, as of 5 a.m. Thursday. (NOAA / NHC)

After causing widespread damage and knocking out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, Maria will brush past the Dominican Republic on Thursday and the Bahamas on Friday.

Forecast model spaghetti plot for Hurricane Maria, with a clear trend toward the north-northeast.  (TropicalTidbits.com)
Forecast model spaghetti plot for Hurricane Maria, with a clear trend toward the north-northeast. (TropicalTidbits.com)

I maintain we won’t have a truly clear and accurate forecast picture of Maria until the center clears the Bahamas (Friday afternoon). However, models are trending in a very good direction — away from the U.S. East Coast. I think we have the interaction with Jose to thank for that slight turn to the east.

However, we absolutely have to keep all options on the table for another day or two. As we’ve discussed several times this season, hurricane forecasts are rarely accurate 5+ days out. A little wiggle in Maria’s track, size, or strength at this point could have drastic implications downstream.

There’s still plenty of time to figure out this forecast puzzle, as Maria wouldn’t approach the Jersey Shore until Tuesday-Wednesday of next week.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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