Maria prompts Barbados to issue hurricane warning: NHC

Cheryl Sanders
September 19, 2017

It also forecast a maximum potential rainfall of 20 inches (51 centimeters) in the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the USA and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night - conditions that could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

As of Sunday at 11 p.m. ET, Maria was about 100 miles (165 kilometers) northeast of Barbados and about 210 miles (340 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica, the center said.

Maria is moving west-northwest at a speed of 17 kilometers per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour and gusts at higher speed, according to the agency. A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St Eustatius and St Lucia.

Jose now has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour and is expected to remain a hurricane through Monday night, the centre said.

The system became a Category 5 hurricane Monday night, just one day after it was upgraded from a tropical storm.

Forecasters said the storm would dump up to 18 inches of rain across Puerto Rico and whip the island with heavy winds for 12 to 24 hours.

The hurricane is expected to produce storm surges of up to 2 meters (6 feet) and dump 15-30 centimeters (6-12 inches) of rain across the Leeward Islands, as well as Puerto Rico and the United States and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee weakened into a tropical depression far out in the Atlantic while Otis strengthened into a hurricane out in the Pacific.

Forecasters say the storm is expected to cause risky surf and rip currents.

On the forecast track, the eye of the storm is set to move over the Leeward Islands "late today and tonight" before going over the northeastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday.

In August 2015, Tropical Storm Erika unleashed flooding and landslides that killed 31 people and destroyed more than 370 homes on the small, mountainous island. This is about 15 miles (25 km) east southeast of Dominica and about 40 miles (70 km) north of Martinique.

"We're in hurricane alley, so we've had other storms, but nothing like this", Jones said.

Hurricane Jose has sped up its northward trek with no change in strength but remains far from land as it generates powerful swells affecting coastal areas in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the USA southeast.

Tropical Storm Maria has formed in the Atlantic and is forecast to strengthen and brush by some islands that were recently wrecked by Hurricane Irma.

Some gradual weakening is expected during the next few days, however, Jose will remain a hurricane through Tuesday, forecasters say. The mammoth storm was moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour.

Jose was centred about 490 kilometres south-east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north at 15kph.

It could make a direct hit on Puerto Rico, which was spared the full brunt of Irma, though power was knocked out to much of the island.

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