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Maria forecast to intensify to Category 4 'dangerous major hurricane'

19 September 2017

Islands in the Caribbean remain piles of debris after Hurricane Irma ripped through last week, but the region must now brace for another threat: The National Hurricane Center announced Sunday that Maria, a storm moving through the Atlantic, is officially a hurricane.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sunday that Hurricane Jose was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.

St Lucia, Antigua and Irma-ravaged Barbuda are on a warnings for winds of tropical storm strength.

Tropical Storm Maria's westward march across the Atlantic is continuing Sunday, with the storm expected to become a hurricane later in the day, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.

Hurricane warnings were posted for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique.

Separately, Jose, a Category 1 hurricane, was located about 280 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, as of early Monday, and moving north with winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the NHC.

On its current track, Maria is forecast to move through the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday and pass very near to or make a direct hit on Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

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"These swells are likely to cause unsafe surf and rip current conditions for the next several days in these areas".

According to the NHC, the hurricane's maximum sustained winds are about 75 miles per hour. On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands Monday night.

Rough surf, strong rip currents and minor coastal flooding are possible, and Jose may track close enough to eastern Long Island and Cape Cod to hit those areas with heavy rain and 60 to 70 miles per hour winds. We will continue to watch and have updates in the days ahead.

Jose is forecast to remain offshore, but a tropical storm watch is in effect from DE on Tuesday to MA on Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Maria became the 12th named storm Saturday.

Tropical storm conditions are expected there by Tuesday.

Maria forecast to intensify to Category 4 'dangerous major hurricane'