Based on the overnight weather models, it appears Jose’s track and strength are setting up New England for not much more than showers and breezy to windy conditions. Areas closest to the storm — such as Nantucket, Cape Cod, and the South Coast — could see more showers and a period when the wind gusts reach tropical storm force.
If you live in New England, you may be curious whether all the chatter about Jose is warranted, and how it might affect your plans. Here’s what else you can expect from the storm.
What’s in the forecast?
You should expect clouds for the next couple of days, breezy to windy conditions, and the chance of showers. Showers are most likely late Tuesday night and Wednesday, and the highest risk is south of Boston. Keep the umbrella handy, but there will be many hours when no rain is falling. Sunshine should start to return Thursday. Highs will reach the upper 60s today and Wednesday, then Thursday heads into the low 70s. The weekend looks amazing, with sunshine and highs between 75 and 80 degrees.
Why won’t Jose do more in New England?
The storm is just too far away to significantly affect our weather. Yes, Jose’s wind field is enormous, spanning over 300 miles from the center. When the center of the storm passes well east of Nantucket, it will be windy there. But these winds won’t be very damaging, even though they can take down isolated tree branches or weak trees.
Rainfall is part of the forecast, but most of the rain stays south and over the ocean. The showers west of the storm will move into the area starting later Tuesday and continue overnight. At one point, I thought Boston could receive over an inch of rainfall, but now I’m leaning toward much less. I just don’t see much in the way of heavy rain in Boston.
What will the storm be like for most New Englanders?
There is a tropical storm warning for the majority of coastal southern New England. Breezy or windy conditions will be the most notable part of this storm. Once the air starts moving today, it will remain busy through Wednesday night. Areas under a tropical storm warning will see the highest winds. It will be interesting which communities actually verify for wind speeds of tropical-storm-force strength.
The map below outlines the areas where tropical storm winds exceeding 39 miles per hour are likely. Remember: those speeds are similar to many coastal storms the region experiences during the winter.
When will Jose affect New England, and how long will it last?
Clouds will thicken through the first part of Tuesday. Dense fog will be an issue in some spots. I can’t rule out a light shower Tuesday morning, but most of the showers and wind arrive late Tuesday night and Wednesday. The Tuesday evening commute, the Wednesday morning commute, and even the Wednesday evening commute will have breezy conditions, and random showers will move through the Boston area at that time. The highest risk of steady rain is south of the city.
Could we see power outages?
We’re likely to see scattered power outages over Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and perhaps a few coastal areas south of Hull. In the winter, the bare trees allow the wind to move through the branches, but during this time of the year, the leaves act like little sails, capturing the wind and making it easier for the tree to topple over. One tree or even a large branch falling on the wrong place can knock out power.
The likeliest timeframe for power outages is Tuesday night and Wednesday during the peak of the storm’s local effects. The winds will subside Thursday.
Will there be flooding?
There could be some splash-over and minor coastal flooding at the times of high tide, but this isn’t a widespread coastal flooding situation. I don’t see enough rainfall for major street or urban stream flooding, but if your town gets a heavy downpour, some roads could temporarily become flooded.
What about Hurricane Maria?
Maria is a dangerous hurricane that is hitting the Caribbean now through the next few days. While Jose is noteworthy, Maria was a strong Category 4 storm early Tuesday, and the storm is capable of catastrophic damage in a small area. It’s a very intense, very compact storm. The strongest winds extend only about 20 miles from the storm’s eye.
Puerto Rico is forecast to take a direct hit. It’s too early to tell if Maria will affect the mainland United States .
Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter: @growingwisdom.