Hurricane Jose Holding Strong Off US Northern East Coast

Hurricane Jose Holding Strong Off US Northern East Coast”

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Maria was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometres (120 miles) per hour. By Sunday afternoon, Maria already had maximum sustained winds up to 65 miles per hour.

Maria would be the most powerful hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years, since a Category 4 storm swept the US island territory in 1932, Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

The storm is following closely in the tracks of the destructive Hurricane Irma.

Now Maria is heading straight for Dominica and Martinique, and as well as the islands of Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the latter two of which were almost completely destroyed by Irma.

"The direction that the hurricane is taking now is very serious for Puerto Rico", said Gumerzindo Gomez, Executive Director of the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center.

Meanwhile on Monday, tropical storm conditions may touch down on St. Lucia, Martinique, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

So far, Maria is following a similar path that Irma travelled - west-northwest through the Caribbean.

- Hurricane season roared on as Jose threatened heavy surf along the U.S. East Coast, Tropical Storm Norma was set to brush Mexico's resort-studded Baja California Peninsula, and Tropical Storm Maria formed in the Atlantic and was expected to strengthen into a hurricane before slamming some already-battered Caribbean islands.

The storm was on a path that would take it near numerous islands already wrecked by Hurricane Irma and then on toward a possible direct strike into Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane.

A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 36 hours within the warning area.

Maria is expected to continue to gain strength and could become a major hurricane within the next couple of days.

Hurricane Maria will hit the small island of Dominica directly tonight.

Hurricane Jose poses more of a threat to the USA east coast this week as it comes closer to land. A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.

Maria is a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the hurricane center said.

By next weekend, meteorologists predict that Hurricane Maria will hit the Bahamas, driving it dangerously close to Florida.

Dominica, an island of 75,000 people in the eastern Caribbean, planned to shut schools, businesses and all government offices except emergency services Monday, said Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in a national address.

Preparations for the upcoming hurricane have already begun in Puerto Rico, where it is expected to make landfall by Tuesday. It was centered about 35 miles northeast of Martinique and 45 miles east-southeast of Dominica, and was heading west-northwest at 9 mph.

Jose is producing risky surf and rip currents up and down the coast.

"Puerto Rico is our lifeline", said Judson Burdon, a permanent resident of Anguilla who has helped coordinate supply shipments to the island.

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