While Jose has remained a non-threat to the U.S. mainland, the storm has had a pretty big impact on the atmosphere. Because Jose is blocking an area of high pressure from the eastern coast, Maria is being pulled more toward the north instead of following a path similar to Irma’s. Had the high-pressure area moved more to the east, Maria may have continued moving to the west-northwest.
With another high-pressure area located to the east of Maria, she is virtually “trapped” between these two areas of pressure. This is a pretty common scenario that accounts for the northwest turn that we often see storms take.
So, how do high pressure systems work? When it comes to hurricanes, high-pressure areas can act as physical “walls.” Hurricanes have a difficult time breaking through these areas, so they tend to move around them. Simply put, storms can’t go through — they must move around.
Currently, Maria is continuing to move to the northwest, and forecast models are not showing dramatic deviations from that path. The 2 p.m. NOAA update indicates that she has weakened since making landfall in Puerto Rico and is now a Category 3 storm.
SUMMARY OF 200 PM AST…1800 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 15 MI…20 KM W OF ARECIBO PUERTO RICO
ABOUT 95 MI…155 KM E OF PUNTA CANA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…115 MPH…185 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NW OR 305 DEGREES AT 12 MPH…19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…961 MB…28.38 INCHES