With cleanup from Hurricane Irma still in the very early stages in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, residents of southeastern states are keeping a nervous eye on Hurricane Maria, which seems to be taking a very familiar path.
The storm, which the National Hurricane Center expects to become a major hurricane by Monday afternoon, is rapidly gaining strength and is already taking aim at the Leeward Islands. It’s expected to make landfall Monday night around 8 p.m. in Dominica and Guadeloupe. By Wednesday, it could be a category 4 storm with a direct hit on Puerto Rico.
Beyond its size, Maria is taking a path that’s eerily similar to the one Irma took weeks ago.
As for Florida, it’s too early to tell if the storm will be a threat. Projection models through Saturday at 2 a.m. show the storm well clear of the U.S., but Maria is expected to still be a major hurricane at that point with a very large cone of uncertainty. There are no watches or warnings for the southeast at this time.
But meteorologists—and others—say it’s a storm they’ll be watching closely.
Setzer, a popular Miami meteorologist, said he’s not preparing for the storm yet, but he is restocking his hurricane supply kit, as all Floridians should.
“My concern is that a disrupted Maria might take a more westerly track late in the week after an encounter with the Greater Antilles,” he said in a Facebook post. “I am not saying Maria is coming to Florida. I am saying that there is higher uncertainty with Maria and therefore we need to watch it this week. The odds favor Maria heading into the open Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas after impacting the northeast Caribbean but they are not sure that Florida won’t be involved.”
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were both devastating storms that will carry high dollar losses. Harvey damages could cost up to $180 billion and while Irma fell short of the $250 billion estimates some feared it could bring, has still had a tremendous effect. (It has also brought out the best in some people—like the Florida millionaire who fostered 70 children in his $30 million mansion.)
For now, though, the best news for everyone along the southeastern coastline may be this: The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore has not yet announced any plans to head to South.