First looking at our local weather: after a welcome taste of autumn weather following Harvey, summer conditions have returned with a vengeance. In addition to a sorely needed dry spell, temperatures have climbed back to summertime levels. Over the past six days, temperatures have run from 1-3 degrees above normal for this time of year, with the mercury reaching a muggy 90 degrees in Galveston on Sunday and 91 degrees in League City. The latest outlook from the Climate Prediction Center expects this trend to continue into early October.
Although an increase in scattered showers and thunderstorms seems likely over the coming seven days, rainfall amounts are expected to be spotty and modest at best. In addition to reflecting the fact that frontal activity is likely to stay north of our area for a while and also reflecting that tropical development is not likely in the near future for our portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
On the other hand, the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and eventually the East Coast remain under the gun with respect to two systems: 1) Hurricane Jose, which at 1 p.m. CDT is located 265 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras and 490 miles south of Nantucket Island with 75-mph sustained winds. Tropical Storm Warnings are now in effect for areas of Connecticut and Massachusetts and 2) the more serious Hurricane Maria, which has intensified to a Category 3 hurricane with 125-mph sustained winds as it nears the Lesser Antilles. Hurricane Warnings are in effect for much of the region, including the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and a Hurricane Watch is in effect for Puerto Rico.
While, Maria is expected to turn northwest through the southeast Bahamas, possibly avoiding the U.S. mainland (though a couple of models still suggest a landfall in North Carolina), regardless, Jose is likely to brush New England before stalling and drifting east as it encounters high pressure to the northeast.
One interesting possibility is the fact that the two systems could eventually engage in what is termed the Fujiwhara effect, basically spinning around each other as they interact. Some models suggest that this could eventually drive Jose back to a landfall in the Middle Atlantic region. While somewhat speculative, this cannot be ruled out completely at this time.