Hurricane Jose May Threaten New York, Norma Bears Down on Baja

Hurricane Jose churned toward the U.S. Northeast and could cause swells along the coast by midweek, according to the National Hurricane Center, while Norma is aiming for Mexico’s Baja California and a new system is gathering strength in the Caribbean as a busy tropical weather season grinds on.

Jose was about 420 miles (675 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It’s path could put it well off the coast of New Jersey and New York by Wednesday morning, although it may weaken to a tropical storm again by then, the center said.

Jose joins an already devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, coming just after Hurricane Harvey inundated Texas and Hurricane Irma raked Florida’s west coast, leaving dozens of people dead and upending energy and agriculture markets. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy created about $70 billion of damage after hitting the New York metropolitan region.

As of 5 a.m. New York time, Jose was moving northward at 8 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Jose is forecast to remain a hurricane through early Tuesday , the center said. Tropical storm watches may be issued on the east coast, the center said in its latest advisory.

Rip Currents

Life-threatening rip currents are expected along parts of the U.S. East Coast, and tropical storm watches may be needed for portions of the area from North Carolina to New England during the next day or two, according to the advisory, the 48th so far about the long-lived weather system.

Jose could affect five refineries along the East Coast that are able to process about 1.1 million barrels a day of oil, Bloomberg data showed.

If it continues toward New York City, Jose could disrupt vessels carrying crude oil, petrochemicals and refined products along the Atlantic seaboard, “particularly those making deliveries to New York Harbor,” Shunondo Basu, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance meteorologist and natural gas analyst in New York, said on Friday.

Still, some forecasters see Jose staying far enough offshore to avoid any major impact to the U.S. The hurricane center’s margin of error for a storm five days out is about 225 miles, on average.

AccuWeather Inc. sees the storm tracking close enough to the coast — within 200 miles — to produce heavy seas and gusty winds, as well as to deliver rain to coastal areas early in the week.

Landfall in New England during the middle of the week can’t be ruled out, senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said in a statement. If landfall were to occur, the most likely location would be far eastern Long Island or southeastern New England, especially Cape Cod.

Beach Erosion

There’s a 50 percent chance of tropical storm-force winds for Nantucket, Massachusetts, by Thursday, said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

If Jose continues on its path, the most immediate impact could be high surf and considerable beach erosion along the shores of the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, Masters said.

Norma, meanwhile, has weakened to a tropical storm as it heads north toward Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. As of 5 a.m. New York time, the storm was about 155 miles south-southwest of the popular tourist designation, Cabo San Lucas. Tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect, with heavy rain likely and maximum sustained winds of about 45 mph. Steady weakening is expected for the next 48 hours, the advisory said.

A depression in the Caribbean was elevated on Saturday to Tropical Storm Maria and had winds of 65 mph on Sunday. Hurricane watches are in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Nevis and Montserrat, with storm watches for several other islands.

“Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria will likely become a hurricane later” Sunday, the center said in an 8 a.m. New York advisory.

A depression west of the Cabo Verde Islands in the central Atlantic Ocean, meanwhile, strengthened into Tropical Storm Lee, the NHC said. Lee is forecast to drift slowly west or west-northwest for a few days and is not currently threatening land.