Hurricane Jose may threaten New York City and other areas of the East Coast by next week, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm, about 550 miles (885 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Friday as it churned through the Atlantic Ocean. Jose’s path could put it near New Jersey and New York by Wednesday morning, though it may weaken to a tropical storm again by then, the center said.
The storm may add to an already devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, coming just after Hurricane Harvey inundated Texas and Hurricane Irma raked Florida’s west coast, leaving dozens of people dead and upending energy and agriculture markets. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy created about $70 billion of damage after hitting the New York metropolitan region.
As of 5 a.m. New York time, Jose was moving northwest at 9 miles an hour with maximum winds of 80 mph and could strengthen over the next two days, the center said. Tropical storm watches could be issued for the U.S. coast on Saturday, according to the advisory.
The storm could affect five refineries along the East Coast that are able to process about 1.1 million barrels a day of oil, Bloomberg data showed.
If it continues toward New York City, Jose could disrupt vessels carrying crude oil, petrochemicals and refined products along the Atlantic seaboard, “particularly those making deliveries to New York Harbor,” said Shunondo Basu, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance meteorologist and natural gas analyst in New York.
Still, some forecasters see Jose staying far enough offshore to avoid any major impact to the U.S. The hurricane center’s margin of error for a storm five days out is about 225 miles, on average.
AccuWeather Inc. sees the storm passing within 200 miles of the Northeast, though landfall in New England during the middle of the week can’t be ruled out, senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said in a statement.
There’s an 18 percent chance of tropical storm-force winds in New York City between Tuesday and Wednesday, said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
If Jose continues on its path, the most immediate impact could be tall, swelling waves “pounding the coasts” until at least Wednesday, Masters said.
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