Maria’s path could take it toward the southeastern U.S.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Atlantic hurricane season is starting to peak, with three tropical systems now churning: Hurricane Katia, turning north and away from land, Tropical Storm Maria, bearing down on the Windward Islands and Tropical Storm Nate, wobbling in the Southern Gulf of Mexico.
Katia is still packing sustained winds of 80 mph but has become an asymmetric storm, with most of the deep convection on the eastern side of the eye. By Friday, the storm will start moving swiftly to the northeast, becoming extratropical sometime during the weekend and possibly affecting northern Scotland next week, according to the latest forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Maria, with 50 mph winds, is heading west and could threaten the northern Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico early in the weekend. The storm is facing significant shear from the southwest and isn’t expected to intensify dramatically. The current forecast models call for Maria to reach minimal hurricane strength by Saturday, with 70 mph winds.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for the Leeward Islands, including Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis and Saint Kitts, where tropical storm conditions are possible Friday night and Saturday.
Tropical Storm Nate continues to develop slowly in the Southern Gulf of Mexico over the Bay of Campeche. Nate’s center is expected to remain almost stationary for as long as five days, according to the latest forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center. Winds could reach 80 mph by late in the weekend, when Nate may start to move north and then probably west, toward Mexico.