Heading Towards the Leeward Islands
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Sept 08, 2017) – Hurricane Jose remained a powerful Category 4 storm as it made its way towards the Northern Leeward Islands on Friday as nervous residents hoped it would veer away and towards the open seas over the weekend.
The two major regional carriers, the Antigua-based LIAT, and the Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL) announced a cancellation of several of their flights on Friday and Saturday, as Hugo, seemed to be following in the path of Hurricane Irma blamed for several deaths and millions of dollars in damage earlier this week.
Irma, which had pummelled several Caribbean territories including Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, St Martin and St. Barthelemy, had lost most of its 185 miles per hour (mph) strength, but was still a strong Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Jose, located 355 miles east south east of the Northern Leeward Islands, had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, and a turn towards the northwest with a decrease in forward speed is forecast for Friday night through the weekend.
“Jose is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuation in intensity, up or down, could occur during the next day or so. Gradual weakening is expected after that,” the NHC added.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla, Sint Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, while a tropical storm watch is in effect for Montserrat, St Kitts –Nevis, British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John.
“Jose is expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to five inches in the Leeward Islands from Guadeloupe to Anguilla, with isolated maximum amounts of eight inches. Jose is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the Virgin Islands and Dominica. This rainfall will maintain any ongoing flooding and may cause additional life-threatening flooding.” – CMC