September 14, 2011

Maria Continues to Move Northward over the Western Atlantic

Tropical Storm Maria is still moving slowly, at around 10 mph to the north-northwest. The storm is centered well east of the Bahamas and still over 600 miles to the south-southwest of Bermuda, where a tropical storm warning is in effect. The storm is still fighting wind shear, although the shear has eased a little overnight and early on Wednesday morning.

The center of circulation is near the northwestern edge of the main convection. The storm has now moved far enough to the north that its heavy rain has ended in Puerto Rico.

Maria will move farther north and will eventually gain some strength as the nearby upper-level trough weakens and shear remains weaker than it has been. Despite this break in shear, Maria will not likely get any stronger than a tropical storm as the week goes on. This is due to consistent, moderate shear in place, as well as the storm moving over cooler waters later this week.

The storm will move northward today and tomorrow as the high to the east and the upper-level trough to the west will not shift much. The track will take the storm between the East Coast and Bermuda before moving well south of Nova Scotia. The main impacts from Maria will be rough surf and the increased threat for rip currents along the East Coast.

Also, the outer bands of Maria may bring gusty showers to Bermuda later tonight into Thursday. Maria will eventually be picked up by the trough in the eastern United States and will race into the northern Atlantic after crossing over or near Newfoundland on Friday.

In the longer range, a cold front will swing across the East Coast late this week. The tail of this front will stall off the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas by Friday and Saturday.

Many global computer forecast models are hinting that an area of low pressure may try to form along this front by the weekend or early next week and it is possible this low could become tropical as it will be over warm waters.

It is much too early to tell if this low will develop and what its track would be, but it will be an area we need to monitor later this week for potential development.

Elsewhere, there are no areas of interest for potential tropical development in the Atlantic Basin.

By Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller

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