hurriane maria
NOAA's GOES-16 satellite captured this image of Hurricane Maria approaching the Leeward Islands today, September 18, 2017.
Hurricane Maria is a really bad storm. This criticism of the media's coverage of it is in no way meant to dismiss, disregard or devalue the harm that this storm will bring to many people.

With Irma we had variations of the following headlines:
  • Most Powerful Hurricane Ever
  • Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricane Ever
  • Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricane Ever... Apart From More Powerful Atlantic Hurricanes Ever
  • Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricane Ever... In This Particular Part of the Atlantic Ocean
Now we have...
Hurricane Maria is following Irma's path and getting stronger

By Susannah Cullinane and Holly Yan, CNN
Updated 4:05 AM ET, Mon September 18, 2017


Hurrican maria irma path
If their paths cross, they can’t be following the same path.
If their paths cross, they can't be following the same path.

And from the Beeb...
Hurricane Maria batters Dominica as category five storm

19 September 2017
From the section Latin America & Caribbean


Maria is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, the hurricane that devastated the region this month.


The Beeb
Dr. Jeff Masters' Weather Underground has a very user-friendly collection of hurricane graphics (proof that climate is not weather). Using a combination of Weather Underground and National Hurricane Center graphics, I put together a comparison of the paths of these two storms. The lack of similarity should be intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers...

Hurricane irma maria track
© National Hurricane Center
Maria historical track and forecast models (5 AM EDT 19 Sept 2017) and Irma historical track.
Hurricane irma maria tracks
© National Hurricane Center
Previous image with National Hurricane Center’s 5-day forecast cone.
inigo Montoya word meaning
© 20th Century Fox
Why? Why is there this obsession with Maria following the same path as Irma? Yes... That was a rhetorical question.
Hurricane Maria's Path: Is it On the Same Track as Irma?

Tropical Storm Maria - soon to be Hurricane Maria - is taking a similar path, at least so far, as Hurricane Irma. That has a lot of people in Florida and, especially, throughout the Caribbean, on edge.

However, is Hurricane Maria really taking a similar path to Hurricane Irma? The answer is yes, in its early stages (and you can see the forecast cones for both later in this article). However, the September 18 spaghetti and forecast cone models show that Maria may then veer to the north and miss the United States and Florida completely. Be aware, though, that these are just projections, and they also preliminarily showed Irma hitting the east coast or veering out to sea before she shifted course and struck the western coast of Florida.


Maria's path has never been similar to Irma's. Their paths couldn't be much more dissimilar for "likely" paths of September hurricanes...
Atlantic hurricane tracks September
Prevailing tracks of September Atlantic hurricanes.
hurrican irma maria tracks
Irma and Maria tracks on September prevailing track map.
The paths of Irma and Maria are similar in the same way that the paths of interstate highways I-10 and I-20 are similar... They go from east to west and hit some of the same States.
US interstate highways