Belfast Telegraph

Weakening hurricane Maria could still take Northern Ireland by storm

by catherine wylie

Hurricane Maria is on its way across the North Atlantic and could hit Ireland and the UK at the weekend, forecasters have warned. The Met Office said the potential effects will be "far from those experienced in the Caribbean", but added that weather systems like Maria can bring very strong winds and heavy rain.

Autumn weather will dominate this week with foggy nights alongside wet and windy spells, while forecasters advise keeping an eye on updates about the potential impacts of Maria over the coming days.

Forecasters said that weather systems like Maria often head north out of the tropics, but when hurricanes lose connection with warmer tropical waters they lose their source of energy and weaken rapidly as a result.

The forecasters said these systems have decayed to a relatively large extent by the time they enter our latitudes, but their remnants still contain air of tropical origin, which can still exert an influence on the weather in the north-east Atlantic, including the UK and Irish Republic.

Meteorologists are currently watching the progress of hurricanes Lee and Maria as they take curved tracks across the North Atlantic.

Both have moved considerably north of the Tropic of Cancer now, and are occupying the open waters of the North Atlantic.

Both systems are weakening, but even so there is potential for them to impact the weather in the UK.

Frank Saunders, duty chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "Ex-Maria will still contain tropical air brought north and it is this air which has the potential to affect our weather.

"Our waters are far too cool to sustain an actual hurricane," he added.

"These systems regularly head towards the UK, especially in autumn.

"They can bring very strong winds and heavy rain, but they are a normal part of our weather," he said.

"At the moment the track of Maria is uncertain and therefore the direction in which it takes as it weakens and becomes ex-Maria is also uncertain."

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