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NWS: Heading north, Hurricane Jose brings swells, rip currents

The National Hurricane Center's forecast cone for Hurricane

The National Hurricane Center's forecast cone for Hurricane Jose, as of 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Credit: National Hurricane Center

With Hurricane Jose still in the western Atlantic and “forecast to lift north towards Long Island through early next week,” the National Weather Service’s Upton office has issued a hazardous weather outlook, telling of “a low chance for tropical storm force winds and heavy rain to develop Tuesday into Wednesday.”

There is also an increasing chance for minor to moderate coastal flooding late Monday into Tuesday, the weather service said.

Even if Jose ultimately passes well to the east of the Island, it will be sending “all that wave energy coming into the coast,” said I. Ross Dickman, the Upton office’s meteorologist in charge.

Those calls, which are subject to change, are based on Saturday evening’s update from the National Hurricane Center, which indicated that Jose’s center is expected “to pass well east of the North Carolina coast on Monday.”

Jose looks to be passing southeast of Long Island, back to tropical storm level, late Tuesday into early Wednesday, the weather service said Saturday.

Nelson Vaz, a meteorologist at the Upton office, said it will take two days to know the true path and impact of Jose. But there’s one thing that’s almost certain, he said.

“The biggest threat that we’re most confident in is the waves and high surf that’ll be a result of it,” he said. “We’ll have dune erosion and localized washovers.”

With swells ahead of the system, there’s a high surf advisory in effect from 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday, along with a high rip current risk through Sunday afternoon.

Though computer models are starting to show more agreement as to the system’s track, it is still too early “to lock in” on most of the details regarding the storm’s impact, the weather service said. The severity of any wind, rain and flooding impacts would depend on the track and strength of the storm.

As of the Saturday forecast, minor to moderate coastal flooding was increasingly possible, especially for Tuesday’s high tide times, mostly for South Shore back bays, the western Long Island Sound and Peconic and Gardiners bays, the weather service said.

One to 3 inches of rain could arrive on the eastern half of the Island, with the heaviest Monday night to Tuesday night, the weather service said. The chance for tropical storm force winds on eastern Long Island has been downgraded to 20 to 30 percent, from 30 to 40 percent, Vaz said.

A storm track farther to the west would mean stronger winds, heavier rain and more significant flooding, with lesser impacts with a more east route.

The weather service pointed to average hurricane center track errors for forecasts three to four days out, which are about 125 and 175 miles, respectively.

Hurricane center advisories and forecast discussions are updated at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., with special bulletins as warranted.

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