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. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  2. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight

    Military

    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  3. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'

    Stage

    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  4. Police plan community meeting as search for Seminole Heights killer continues

    Crime

    TAMPA — With people in Seminole Heights on edge following three related shooting deaths on their streets, police have planned a community meeting for Monday.

    The three Seminole Heights victims, from left: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20. [Facebook, family photos]
  5. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.