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Hurricane Jose strengthens to ‘almost Category 5’

AMANDA LYNCH-FOSTER, [email protected]

Hurricane Jose strengthens to ‘almost Category 5’

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Two Category 5 hurricanes in a week.

This is the prospect facing the battered islands of the northern Caribbean as Hurricane Jose strengthened late on Friday to “almost a Category 5 hurricane” headed for the islands picking up the pieces following the passage of Hurricane Irma.

The 11:00 pm advisory on Friday from the United States-based National Hurricane Center warned that the US Air Force Hurricane Hunters had found Jose “even stronger”, with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. A Category 5 hurricane has winds of 157 miles per hour.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for many of the islands which were hit on Wednesday by Hurricane Irma, which was one of the strongest storms ever recorded. Barbuda, Anguilla, Sint Maarten/St Martin and St Barthelemy are under hurricane warning while Antigua is under hurricane watch.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Antigua, Saba and St Eustatius while Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, the British Virgin Islands and St Thomas and St John in the US Virgin Islands are under tropical storm watch.

On its current forecast track, Hurricane Jose is expected to pass close to or just east of the northern Leeward Islands on Saturday afternoon.

Further north, Hurricane Irma continued to make its way across the Caribbean, passing through the southern islands of the Bahamas on Friday evening. As shelters were activated across the archipelago, residents from the tinier southern islands fled north to New Providence Island, where the capital Nassau is located.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and members of his cabinet visited the shelters. Prime Minister Minnis told the media that 1609 people evacuated from the southern isles, with 155 of them using the public shelters available.

As the storm approached the northern section of the Bahamas, the Prime Minister urged citizens to stay indoors and heed all warnings and issued a special plea to those in flood-prone areas to evacuate before it was too late.

“”Please, please move now. Do not try to ride out the hurricane . You may put your life and that of your loved ones at risk.”

Hurricane Irma has been responsible for 22 deaths across the Caribbean thus far.