Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Caribbean under hurricane watch again with Tropical Storm Maria following Irma's track.

Tropical Storm Maria has formed in the Atlantic, according to the National Weather Service.

Tropical Storm Maria has formed in the Atlantic, according to the National Weather Service.

Tropical Storm Maria formed in the Atlantic Saturday afternoon, threatening to pound islands already hit hard by Irma with another hurricane early next week.

In a 5 p.m. update, National Hurricane Center forecasters said Maria will likely bring dangerous winds, more storm surge and heavy rain to parts of the Lesser Antilles next week. Saturday afternoon, hurricane watches were issued for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. Tropical storm watches were issued earlier in the day for other islands in the chain.

By midweek, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico could again face fierce winds with Maria expected to become another major hurricane. Watches could be issued for the islands as early as Sunday.

It's not yet clear what impact Florida and the U.S. might face from the storm. Model projections so far out can often be hundreds of miles off. But an early run of the European model — which reliably tracked Irma — takes the storm toward Florida.

Saturday evening, the storm was located about 620 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles and moving west at a quick 20 mph. Sustained winds reached 50 mph.

The system became much better organized Saturday afternoon, forecasters said, as it moved over warm tropical waters and encountered light wind shear. Air around the storm is also very moist. Those conditions shouldn't change in the coming days, they said, likely allowing Maria to continue to pick up steam.

The storm is now moving along the outside of a high pressure ridge. But that ridge is expected to weaken. That should slow the storm and cause it to head to the northwest.

In his Saturday blog, Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said the storm could approach the U.S. by next week.

Masters said the storm's path could be influenced by Hurricane Jose, currently hundreds of miles east of Florida and moving toward the coast of New England. If Jose weakens the high pressure ridge steering the storm, it could allow Maria to head more to the northwest or north-northwest, he said. If not, the storm will likely keep heading to the west-northwest.

A fall trough moving across the U.S., he said, could also strengthen a ridge in the northeast, preventing the storm from moving out to sea.

Caribbean under hurricane watch again with Tropical Storm Maria following Irma's track. 09/16/17 [Last modified: Saturday, September 16, 2017 6:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas sees slight increase in black and first-year teachers

    Blogs

    A year after the Pinellas County school district was chastised in a state report for clustering inexperienced teachers in the state's most struggling schools, the district has reported a first look at its teacher corps.

    The Pinellas County school district has taken a first look at first-year teachers in struggling schools and minority hiring, both of which ticked slightly upward.
  2. Editorial: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier's Miami family

    Editorials

    There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a …

  3. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. Hillsborough teachers get a hard no on scheduled pay raises

    Blogs

    The Hillsborough County School District cannot afford to advance teachers to their next year's pay levels, employee relations manager Mark West told the union at Monday afternoon's bargaining session.

    This might be the last teacher bargaining session in Hillsborough for awhile. Although the two sides are not officially at an impasse, the district says it cannot pay teachers their scheduled raises.
  5. Editorial: A neighborhood under attack unites

    Editorials

    Three murders in two weeks understandably have Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood on edge. But Tampa police and residents are working together to find the killer and are connecting in ways that will strengthen the community in the long run. This is the best reaction to the tragedy of the three deaths, and it should …

    Seminole Heights residents came together in a candlelight vigil Sunday night to pay respect to the families and to demonstrate that they will not be cowed into staying indoors.