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September 2017

[Wednesday Evening] Maria Leaves Puerto Rico Devastated – Will Track Close to Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos

   Posted by Levi at 7:26pm on September 20, 2017

Latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Hurricane Maria

Latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Tropical Storm Jose




  • CaptDJB says:

    Thank You Levi

  • cj38 says:

    Thank you, Levi! Have been without adequate internet since Irma and have not had the opportunity to thank you for your valuable guidance and explanations during that event. Your knowledge and presentation is most impressive. Thinking of you and hoping you have a happy Rosh Hashanah! I have donated to your site and will continue to do so. Chris

  • OMTEC says:

    Any charts for the current ACE for the Atlantic Basin?

  • Nick says:

    Realise understandably all eyes are on Maria but here in Lesser Antilles generally people are already ( understandably) becoming quite jumpy about any potential next storm. Could you squeeze in a word about disorganized weather system shown on Atlantic satellite images coming off Africa – Nate? Realise it is a bit further east than you normally address – but these are exceptional times. Thanks.
    Great work by the way. Now immediate crisis for us has passed a donation will be on its way. – with hopes we will not actually need your services quite so much for a little while!

    • SAR Jim says:

      Nick, that area of disturbed weather isn’t even an invest yet. Only about one out of ten tropical waves ever become any kind of tropical cyclone. A fair number, like up and down Lee, will not become a threat to any landmasses regardless. Once it gets to be an invest, then it’s time to pay attention, Until then, you’re going to waste a lot of energy waiting and watching things that aren’t likely to amount to anything.

      Regards, Jim

      • Nick says:

        OK thanks – I get it – but if you have just been hit (or missed) by Irma or Maria ( or both) then the “usual” patterns of activity no longer seem to apply and everything starts to look more worrying .

        • SAR Jim says:

          I was hit by Irma and, so far, at least, missed by Maria. What we’re seeing is big storms, but the pattern really isn’t outside what’s happened before. In 2005, we were already up to the “R” storm. In 1933, we were already up to 16 storms compared to 13 this year. The difference this year is landfalling majors in the continental US, something that hasn’t happened in 12 years, the longest period in known history. This has got people freaked out and afraid that all the rest will be majors and hit the the continental US. Maybe, but not likely. Really, scrutinizing every wave coming off Africa will give you zero information about what it might (or might not) become, but it will get your anxiety meter off the scale. You’ll have plenty of time to be anxious when it’s five days out and you’re in the cone. 🙂

          Regards, Jim

  • AJ says:

    Can’t seem to find the 200mb wind / streamlines map that you refer to in the video.
    Do you know where on the site it is? I only see the 250mb map.


    • Sroc4 says:

      Search under regions, then under Tropics choose North America. Once there under “upper dynamics” there is an option for 200mb wind. For the most part 250mb will likely be very similar to 200mb level with regards to winds as it’s not a huge shift in altitude.

  • OMTEC says:

    Current Sat. imagery shows Maria paralleling Dominican Republics Northern coast. If it is doing that then it is traveling WNW not NW as the hurricane center says. If it continues on the WNW movement then look for the forecast cone to start shifting more Westward..

    • SAR Jim says:

      The 5:00 update does have Maria shifting westward but still well off the US coast. I don’t expect the real north turn for another two days as it moves between the high and large trough left by Jose. Like most tracks, it will shift a little with each update. If it shows a continued westward movement by Sunday night, then I’d get a little concerned.

      Regards, Jim

  • Gutter says:

    I’m new to Tropical Tidbits (since Harvey) and I’m a fan – I love this site and the information you provide. Stupid question: in last night’s video update, as you play Maria’s current loop (in the beginning of the video) I see a very thin band of something moving NNW to SSE (in the upper right corner of the video) at what appears to be incredible speed. In fact, whatever it is appears to be moving faster than the inner bands of Maria. What IS that thing? Thank you Levi.

    • SAR Jim says:

      I think it’s mostly an optical illusion caused by the parallax view from the satellite. They are bands of clouds and showers moving south. They are actually moving relatively slowly. It’s Maria moving relatively fast NW and those clouds moving SE that make it look like they are moving fast in relation to Maria.

      Regards, Jim

  • Mel Frost - KD7DCR says:

    Thought some following this site might find this info of use for personal planning:
    (this opsgroup is excellent for aircraft operators worldwide, but they do charge for their services)

    Melaopa – just sharing the OPSGROUP update from 1230 EST today with you; given the rapid updates and huge amount of airports affected in the Caribbean, this may be useful for you.

    As with any of my previous ad-hoc updates, I should mention that to receive these Ops updates directly as issued, you can join the group, we are very happy to get new members!


    21Sep 1630Z: Maria is 100nm NE of MDPP/Puerto Plata, tracking NW at 8 knots.

    Following is the current status for the airports affected:


    MYMM/Mayaguana Airport is currently open and flight ops are expected to take place as normal today.

    Turks & Caicos

    MBPV/Providenciales Airport closed, current projected reopen is 24 Sep at 1600Z

    MBGT/Grand Turk Closed, due to flooding during Hurricane Irma, not expected to open until 25 Sep

    Dominican Republic

    Maria is tracking away from the DR at present. Impact so far appears lower in severity than on Puerto Rico, awaiting updates Thursday afternoon.

    MDLR/La Romana Airport closed. Inspection curently in progress. Expected to reopen at 1pm LT.

    MDSD/Santo Domingo All flights are currently cancelled. However, no official closure reported.

    MDPC/Punta Cana Airport closed. Next update expected 22 Sep 0400Z.

    MDPP/Puerto Plata Airport closed. Next update expected 22 Sep 0400Z.

    MDCY/Samana Airport closed. Next update expected 21 Sep 1700Z.

    Puerto Rico

    Heavily impacted by Maria. No electricity on the island, may not be up and running for weeks. Storm surge, and catastrophic flash-flooding. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue, although the gusty winds should gradually subside this morning. Impact on ops across PR airports still being assesed.

    TJZS/San Juan FIR ATC Operating but with reduced capacity, limitations to staff and comms.

    TJSJ/San Juan Airport closed, once operating will be restricted to relieft flights until 30 Sep. No CPDLC, VOR or Radar coverage at the moment. TJSJ Auto Weather lost after winds peak gust went above 91 knots. Terminal damaged, much flooding inside.

    TJIG/Isla Grande Images show as many as 20 aircraft destroyed. Some terminal buildings and many hangars damaged beyond repair

    TJBQ/Aguadilla Airport closed, earliest reopening Friday evening.

    TJPS/Ponce Airport closed, earliest reopening Friday evening.

    TJRV/Ceiba Airport closed. Next update expected 22 Sep 1600Z.

    TJVQ/Vieques Airport closed. Next update expected 22 Sep 1600Z.

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    St. Thomas suffered near-total destruction when Hurricane Irma hit last week, although St. Croix was largely spared. Maria passed through St. Croix yesterday as a category 5 hurricane however, causing widespread destruction. The Virgin Islands are now short on critical supplies, which are stuck on boats out at sea.

    TISX/St.Croix No immediate reports of deaths or injuries on St. Croix from but a full assessment hasn’t been completed. Many roofs off buildings and downed trees. Expect to have news about airport serviceability later today.

    TIST/St.Thomas Military and hurricane relief flights only.

    British Virgin Islands

    Already widespread damage after Irma, with further complications by Maria.

    TUPJ/Beef Island-Tortola Airport closed. The perimeter fence was badly damaged by hurricane Irma, so the airport is no longer secured. ATS services reduced to 5nm radius of the airport. Reportedly open for relief flights, but operators reporting issues in making contact with the Airport Authority.

    TUPA/Anegada Airport closed. News expected later today.

    TUPW/Virgin Gorda Airport closed. News expected later today.

    Saint Maarten

    TNCM/Princess Juliana VFR ops are allowed from 1130-2130Z for humanitarian, military, emergency flights only with prior permission. ATS services SFC-FL150 unavailable until approx 20OCT. Further report from Opsgroup member (post-Irma but pre-Maria): TNCM had one high and low loader operative when we operated there. Airport is secured and cleaned by the Dutch military. No Nav aids active during our flights there. Consider VFR only. Flight require to be pre coordinated, unannounced flights don’t have guaranteed cargo handling. ATC is organized by Dutch MIL ATC, expect to be picked up 25nm out. 3 fire vehicles active at the airport, fire CAT unknown/undeclared.

    St. Kitts & Nevis

    TKPK/Basseterre Open and operating post-Maria since Wednesday am

    TKPN/Nevis Island Open and operating


    TAPA/Antigua Open and operating


    40% of the island is without power. Flooding is causing the most issues.

    TFFR/Pointe-a-Pitre Re-opened to commercial flights as of 0645z Thursday.


    Serious damage. Homes and trees flattened. No power, water or food supplies. Recovery efforts are currently being coordinated from the nearby islands of St Lucia and Antigua.

    TDPD/Roseau Closed to all flights apart from relief/humanitarian. Runway and Apron have been determined use able, flights operate at their own risk. Unicom frequency active, no ATC – 118.9.

    TDCF/Canefield Emergency flights only.

    Trinidad and Tobago

    TTCP Open and operating normally

    TTPP Open and operating normally

    TTZP/Piarco FIR VHF comms in north of FIR restricted due to damage to remote antenna site in Antigua. CPDLC not operational.

    • SAR Jim says:

      Excellent data, Max. If it’s not too much trouble, I’d like to see you do a daily update. Just do a reply to earlier post so we can keep the thread going. As you know, the conditions and operations at air ports can sometimes be the best indicator of what’s really happening on the islands.

      Regards, Jim

      • Mel Frost - KD7DCR says:

        Hey Jim,

        Sorry, but my access to OPSCENTER is only “weekly” on their free sample service. A single user set up is about 25-30 bucks per month, 1yr contract…that’s for daily updates, direct contact with using pilots that post actual conditions upon landing, along with direct question answers by phone…as well as flight planning services and tools. Really a good deal if you have/lease an ASTRA or G-550, eh?

        I’ll post what I get, as I get it…I agree, conditions at a major airport after a disaster is very timely info to understand just how bad, BAD is… Check-6

      • Mel Frost - KD7DCR says:

        BTW, Jim:

        I have a business plan for a “get out of dodge” stand-by service for those living in such areas… This is NOT some big bucks, high roller, deal…very “10yr old used car” type deal.

        And, it can also provide for “owner level discounts” for casual use of the plane(s) along the way… The target is 7 seats, 2,400 mi range @ 470-490 mph, flush potty, refreshment center…for right at $2,000 per flight hour… retail charter rate would be $500+ more per hour. The thought is, Mom and Dad moved to Florida, the kid’s are still in NY or ??? They buy one of these low rate slots, this sets their priority for such an evac mission – ahead of any retail trade.. With a phone call, send the plane to FL, pick up Mom/Dad/doggy/cats/gold bars, etc and deliver them to NY for a visit while Irma rips up the condo/home down there. They be safe and sound…Pvt jet travel is very private…no TSA grooper’s…no asset seizures by some local LEO named Bubba, etc… Check-6

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