Irma nearing Leewards Islands; Jose strengthening
Potentially catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Irma is nearing the northern Leeward Islands and weather conditions will soon deteriorate.
At 5 p.m. the distinct eye of Irma was located near latitude 17.1 North, longitude 59.8 West.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Irma is moving toward the west near 15 mph (24 km/h). A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast to begin tonight and continue for the next couple days.
On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday, move near or over portions of the northern Virgin Islands Wednesday, and pass near or just north of Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Wednesday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 926 mb (27.35 inches).
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jose is gaining strength in the central tropical Atlantic.
At 5 p.m. the centre of that system was located near latitude 12.5 North, longitude 40.6 West.
Jose is moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h) and a movement toward the west or west-northwest at a slightly faster rate of forward speed is expected during the next two days.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts.
Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Jose could become a hurricane by Thursday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the centre.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 mb (29.71 inches). (PR/NB)