The destructive touch down of Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys was preceded by a rise in the death toll in the Caribbean Islands. The storm, which has been declared one of the most disastrous in history, has now caused 27 confirmed deaths, $14 billion worth of damages and over 9 million displaced lives.
Fears of a second wave of devastation from the following Hurricane Jose were eased as the steady Category 4 storm turned away from the Northern Leeward Islands and began moving northward this past weekend. Islands already ravaged by Irma, such as Antigua and Barbuda, St. Martin and St. Barts were spared as Jose took on a route that was farther away than initially anticipated, according to state meteorological agency Météo-France.
Recent tracking reports demonstrate the unpredictability of Jose's future path. The National Hurricane Centre presents a week-long scenario (until Friday) where Jose continues its northerly movement toward the mid-Atlantic before coming to a complete halt and lingering there for several days.
However, alternate scenarios have Jose regaining energy and completing the loop around the Atlantic, possibly even reaching as far as the upper East coast of the U.S. and the lower Maritimes in Canada (see lines AP07 and AP12 in map above).
Such is reminiscent of a similar scenario in 2010, where Hurricane Igor made a loop northward from the tropics and ravaged the eastern island of Newfoundland. Michael Ventricle, a meteorologist, warns that, like Igor, Jose could still have an impact along the Eastern seaboard.
It is likely that a high pressure system that brought in great weather in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast this past weekend will meet Jose as it moves north, keeping it away from land. However, meteorologists predict this won't do much to weaken the intensity of the storm during its loop, as it will still have plenty of warm water to fuel its movement.
It is difficult to determine a sure trajectory for Jose beyond Friday as forecast models remain inconclusive of the state of the atmosphere past a period of five days. The final position of Jose will depend on where Irma decides to move and break down.