Jose strengthens into hurricane, could impact New England, forecasters say

A satellite image from Monday Sept. 18 2017 shows Hurricane Maria spinning toward the Caribbean

A satellite image from Monday Sept. 18 2017 shows Hurricane Maria spinning toward the Caribbean

The disturbance is forecast to become a tropical storm later today and could be near hurricane strength when it approaches the Leeward Islands.

As the storm continues its path, it could "affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid week as a risky major hurricane", the NHC reported.

The hurricane was located far from land but is generating powerful swells that were affecting coastal areas in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and the southeast USA, the National Hurricane Center said. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Tropical storm watches have already been put in effect for an area including Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The storm, still about 2,000 miles from the United States, was 460 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles and was moving west-northwest at about 15 mph.

Meanwhile, a new tropical depression has formed far out over the Atlantic and is expected to become a tropical storm.

Jose is the sixth named hurricane of the Atlantic basin season, which lasts through November.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for sustained winds below tropical storm force of 39 miles per hour along the coast Monday and Tuesday, but gusts could reach 44 miles per hour.

Jose, a long-lived hurricane, was churning its way north through the Atlantic Ocean Sunday morning as a Category-1 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 130 km per hour.

But that doesn't mean that the hurricane, now swirling about 600 miles southwest of North Carolina's Outer Banks with sustained winds of 80 mph and moving northwest at 9 mph, won't be felt by people living near the coasts.

Weather conditions for eastern Long Island were still expected to worsen by Tuesday. The forecast track of Maria takes it directly over Puerto Rico as a hurricane by Wednesday, while Lee is forecast to remain a tropical depression through Thursday.

Most of southern New England, especially those at the coast, are under the cone of uncertainty released by the NHC. By the middle of the week, the center of a weakened Jose will come close to or directly strike the coast of New England, before making a turn to the east.

At 5 a.m. Sunday, the storm was at 13.0 degrees north and 35.4 degrees west.

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