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Jose heads for East Coast; rip currents expected locally

The latest projected storm track predicted the storm will come close to Nantucket.
The latest projected storm track predicted the storm will come close to Nantucket.

Massachusetts officials say they are keeping an eye on Hurricane Jose, which is expected to run along the East Coast, churning up high surf and dangerous rip currents in New England this weekend and into the middle of next week.

Wind and rain from the storm, which regained hurricane status Friday afternoon, might also affect Cape Cod and the Islands, forecasters said.

The “full extent of those impacts remains dependent on the uncertain storm track,” the National Weather Service office in Taunton said Friday afternoon in a discussion posted on the Web.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski warned Friday afternoon, “We cannot rule out landfall in New England during the middle of next week.”

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The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned of the possibility of high winds causing tree damage and power outages, and up to 6 inches of heavy rain, as well as heavy surf, rip currents, and beach erosion. The agency said it was monitoring the storm’s progress.

The Taunton weather office issued a special warning to mariners, saying that “they need to be wary of potential impacts from Jose. Extended offshore trips by small craft that extend into early next week are not advised until the threat from Jose passes.”

The forecasters warned that Jose could bring tropical-storm-force winds (39 to 73 miles per hour) to coastal waters south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, coming close enough to create rough water in some harbors. If Jose comes closer, those winds could also spread across waters east of Massachusetts, the forecasters said.

The storm is already whipping up swells that are affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas, the northern coasts of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, and the Southeast coast of the United States, and those will spread north in the next few days, the hurricane center said.

“Interests from North Carolina northward to New England . . . should monitor the progress of this system,” the center said in an advisory.

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At 5 p.m. Friday, the storm was about 640 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., moving northwest at 10 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, making it a Category 1 hurricane.

Forecasters said they expected the storm to strengthen through Saturday, with weakening possible late Sunday.

By 2 p.m. Wednesday, forecasters expect Jose to be about 85 miles south of Nantucket, with winds of 65 miles per hour, less than hurricane strength. However, that far in the future, forecasts tend to be around 225 miles off, the center noted.

Forecasters in Taunton noted that the supercomputer models used to predict future weather have shifted the predicted track of the storm to the west, closer to the coast.

“With the westward shift in track, the threat of a more direct impact from Jose is increasing. Prudence dictates that people in southern New England should pay close attention to later forecasts regarding Jose this weekend,” the forecasters said.

“The effective impact could be similar to a strong northeaster that produces gale- or storm-force winds,” the forecasters said.

AccuWeather forecasters said Jose could reach Category 2 or Category 3 status at some point between Sunday and Tuesday. But that is much stronger than what the federal forecasters expect.