Note: This story was updated at 5 p.m. to include information about Tropical Storm Maria and the high surf advisory for Beaufort County.
Hurricane Jose wasn’t alone in the Atlantic for long. Two other systems are now spinning across the ocean: Tropical Storm Lee and Tropical Storm Maria, according to the National Hurricane Center’s update at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Tropical Storm Maria gained strength Saturday, growing from a tropical depression to a storm with winds of 50 miles per hour, and it’s expected to strengthen further to become a hurricane by early next week.
Islands devastated by Hurricane Irma last week are now in the predicted path of Maria, under either a tropical storm or hurricane watch. At 5 p.m. Saturday, Irma was moving at 20 miles per hour and was located 620 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.
As Lee and Maria develop, Jose continues churning off the east coast of the U.S. on Saturday evening. But those worried about Jose repeating the threat to the Lowcountry posed by Irma can rest easy as long as its most recent track holds.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, Jose was located 485 south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. It was moving northwest at 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and gusts up to 98 mph.
After being reclassified as a tropical storm on Thursday, Jose regained its hurricane status on Friday and is expected to increase gradually in strength over the next few days before weakening once more as it moves north.
Even as the storm spins well away from the Lowcountry coast, it will still be strong enough that those on Beaufort County beaches should expect to see its effects, including increased rip currents and choppy surf. The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory and high rip current risk for Sunday in coastal South Carolina. The waves and rip currents could be “life-threatening,” the alert stated.
Those conditions “should be moving in at any time if they’re not already at the coast,” said James Carpenter, meteorologist for the NWS in Charleston. “They will probably impact us for the remainder of this week and into next week.”
Any effects that could be felt further north along the East Coast, where Jose is more likely to make a closer approach to land, are not yet known, according to the weather service.
There are currently no coastal watches or warnings associated with Jose.
As of the hurricane center’s 5 p.m. update, Tropical Storm Lee — the 12th named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season — was about 720 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands with sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.
Over the next several days, Lee is expected to weaken back to a tropical depression while posing no threat to land. Its track has it moving slowly into the mid-Atlantic through early Thursday morning.
No coastal watches or warnings have yet been issued for that storm.