The role Hurricane Jose could play in the path of Hurricane Maria

The U.S. mainland should be spared the wrath of Hurricane Maria, and a fellow storm — Jose — may be responsible.

Forecasters predict that Maria, a major hurricane that tore into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 monster early Wednesday, should spin north and then east and away from the U.S. 

"It seems at this point that the most likely track for Maria would be similar to Jose, staying off the coast but maybe close enough to clip the Outer Banks, maybe New England," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Rob Miller said.

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Tropical Storm Jose, which continued to spin just south of New England on Wednesday, could help guide Maria away from the U.S. and out to sea.

Jose helped to weaken a large ridge of high pressure currently parked over the the eastern U.S. and much of the Atlantic, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson.

That high-pressure area is largely responsible for the warm and humid weather pattern currently gripping the central and eastern United States, according to AccuWeather.

As of Wednesday afternoon, both the top American and European weather models showed an offshore track for Maria.

"There is strong agreement among our best track models that Maria will be following in the footsteps of Hurricane Jose," moving into the area carved out by Jose’s week-long presence, Henson said.

Had it not been for Jose, the high-pressure area would have become a single solid, sprawling ridge, which could have guided Maria west on a track similar to Irma.

Additionally, there should be enough west-to-east flow in the jet stream to push Maria out to sea, Henson said.

However, even if it stays offshore, Maria will bring another round of rough surf to the east coast of Florida, north of West Palm Beach," AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

Jose remained a tropical storm Wednesday with 70-mph sustained winds driving rip currents and rough surf along much of the East Coast, a pattern that should continue for a few days. The storm was spinning about 150 miles south of Nantucket, Mass., Wednesday afternoon. 

Tropical-storm warnings remained in effect for southeastern Massachusetts. Jose will produce more rain and gusty winds in southern New England on Thursday, the hurricane center said.

A similar path for Maria would be joyous news for Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, states still in recovery mode after being battered by Hurricane Irma.

"We don't want to let our guard down," Miller said. "But the consensus is that the storm keeps off the coast, maybe significantly off the coast."