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Could Tropical Storm Karen’s ‘loopy track’ hit the U.S. just like Hurricane Jeanne in 2004?

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Could Tropical Storm Karen’s ‘loopy track’ hit the U.S. just like Hurricane Jeanne in 2004?

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After drenching Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Karen has ventured back out into the open Atlantic
Accuweather

After soaking Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Tropical Storm Karen is slowly moving to the north into the open Atlantic Ocean – and one of its forecast tracks is similar to a devastating hurricane that slammed Florida 15 years ago.

Forecasters warned of more rain showers for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands throughout Wednesday, but those were expected to dissipate by Thursday as Karen heads north.

The storm’s destination remains a mystery: “Karen has an uncertain, strange future ahead, and one possibility is a loopy track eerily reminiscent of Hurricane Jeanne, one of the big hurricanes of 2004,” Weather Channel meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said. 

First, Karen should take a northerly path that will bring the system well northeast of the Bahamas on Thursday, AccuWeather said.

Then, from Thursday into next week, Karen’s path is highly uncertain as steering winds may become weak and erratic, according to AccuWeather. It is expected to slow and stall, then could make a clockwise loop well south of Bermuda.

It could then head west: “Provided high pressure builds north of Karen later this week, the clockwise flow around that high should begin to steer the storm on a more westerly track,” AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

That’s similar to the track of Jeanne, which made an odd loop before smashing into Florida as a Category 3 hurricane on Sept. 26, 2004. Jeanne made landfall just 2 miles from where Hurricane Frances had struck three weeks earlier. Jeanne brought near-record flooding as far north as New Jersey, left more than 3,000 people dead, most in Haiti, and caused more than $7 billion in damage to the U.S. 

However, Karen would be several hundred miles farther east than Jeanne was during its loop, Erdman said. Thus, even if Karen is steered west for a while, there’s no guarantee it would make it far enough west to threaten land next week.

As for the storm’s intensity, some computer models show Karen dissipating completely while others show it strengthening into a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.

Because of the storm’s uncertain future, folks in the Bahamas and perhaps Florida should carefully monitor Karen’s progress, Capital Weather Gang meteorologist Matthew Cappucci said.

Meanwhile, Jerry became a post-tropical cyclone and was expected to pass near Bermuda on Wednesday. It was about 155 miles west of Bermuda and had sustained winds of 45 mph as it moved north-northeast at 7 mph.

In addition, far out in the central Atlantic Ocean, Lorenzo became the fifth Atlantic hurricane of the season and was projected to become a major hurricane by the end of the week, although it is not expected to affect the Caribbean or the U.S. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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