Deadly Hurricane Maria, now a Category 3 and expected to pass near the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday night and Friday is seen with Tropical Storm Jose (top) in the Atlantic Ocean in this NOAA's GOES East satellite image taken on September 21, 2017. Credit: NASA | Reuters

A tropical storm warning stemming from Jose, now considered a post-tropical cyclone as it gradually loses intensity, has been extended north into the Gulf of Maine.

Wind speeds in the gulf Friday are projected to range from roughly 30 to 40 mph, with wave heights reaching 10 to 16 feet, and then to diminish later in the day. On Saturday, wind speeds of 12 to 23 mph and wave heights of four to eight feet are predicted in the gulf.

The tropical storm warning applies only to offshore waters and does not extend all the way to shore. Jose is expected to meander off the East Coast, its center approximately 300 miles due south of the Maine shoreline, for the next several days, according to the National Weather Service.

High surf and small craft advisories are expected to remain in effect for the entire Maine and New Hampshire coasts until Friday evening. Dangerous rip currents that can pull swimmers away from shore and possible beach erosion are potential hazards from the lingering storm, which was a category 4 hurricane when it passed just north of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean nearly two weeks ago.

On Friday morning, Jose had sustained winds of 50 mph and was generating tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more as far as 220 miles from the storm’s center, which was 115 miles southeast of Nantucket.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Maria was moving north past the Bahamas on Friday, two days after hitting Puerto Rico, where it could take weeks to restore power. Now downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, Maria is expected to continue north and to be roughly due east of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina by Wednesday morning.

Forecasters have said that the lingering presence of Jose could help pull Maria out to sea or, if Jose weakens enough, direct it toward shore, depending on how the storms might be affected by two high pressure systems — one over the Great Lakes and another further out in the Atlantic.

Forecasters have not predicted Maria’s projected path beyond Wednesday, saying that if it does move toward the East Coast its impact could be felt acutely anywhere from North Carolina to Maine. If it stays out at sea, coastal areas still could get some wind and rain, along with heavy surf, as they have with Jose.

Swells “likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” are expected to reach Bermuda and the southeastern coast of the mainland U.S. on Friday.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....