Tropical Storm Maria Forms in the Atlantic; Expected to Become Hurricane

Jose has begun a northerly track and will likely pass between the Carolina coast and Bermuda over the weekend

Another powerful storm was bearing down on a string of battered Caribbean islands on Sunday, with forecasters saying that Maria had strengthened into a hurricane and would intensify before hitting the Leeward Islands on Monday night.

Jose, a minimal Category 1 hurricane, Monday morning is located about 265 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and is moving north with winds of 75 mph. Hurricane warnings and watches are out for some of the islands that that saw devastating damage from Irma, including Guadeloupe, the US and British Virgin Islands, and St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

As of 5am, Hurricane Maria has winds of 90 miles per hour and bearing down on the Leeward Islands of Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe.

Hurricane watches have be issued for the Leeward Islands, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Jose packed top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour as of early Sunday evening.

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Maria could make a direct hit on Puerto Rico, which was spared the full brunt of Irma although much of the island had its power knocked out.

"Maria is likely to be at category 3 or 4 intensity by the time it moves into the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea, "the center said in its forecast".

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

In the tropics, the First Alert Forecast team continues to track Hurricane Jose, a strengthening Tropical Hurricane Maria and disorganized Tropical Storm Lee. Jose is forecast to move north between Bermuda and the U.S. through Wednesday and then curve to the east and could bring some tropical storm conditions to the Cape and the Islands. "Tropical storm watches may be needed for portions of this area during the next day or so". It is heading west-northwest, and its closest point of approach within the next three days is forecast to be more than 1,300 nautical miles to the east-southeast on Wednesday.

Tropical Depression Lee is expected to become a low-pressure system by Monday night.

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