Hurricane Jose maintains intensity, expected to bring dangerous surf and rip currents

Several of those islands were devastated earlier this month when Hurricane Irma rampaged through the Caribbean as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded, killing more than 80 people on the islands and the U.S. mainland.

The strong tropical storm has sustained winds of up to 65 mph and higher gusts.Tropical storm conditions extend out about 60 miles from the storm's center, forecasters said.

It comes just hours after the NHC had upgraded Maria to an "extremely dangerous" category 4 hurricane.

"Maria continues to strengthen and is expected to be at major hurricane intensity when it affects portions of the Leeward Islands over the next few days, bringing risky wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards", the hurricane center said.

Maria grew into a hurricane on Sunday, and forecasters said it was expected to become much stronger while following a path that would take it near numerous islands wrecked by Hurricane Irma and on to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It is about 85 miles east of Martinique and is moving west-northwest at 12 mph.

Hurricane Irma passed near Puerto Rico less than two weeks ago, leaving three people on the island dead and around one million without electricity.

Hurricane Maria is now an extremely risky category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (215 km/h) as the centre moves near Dominica and the adjacent Leeward Islands during the next few hours. However, the storm could bring tropical storm conditions to parts of the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England over the next few days.

Hurricane Maria is the fourth major storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Jose.

Hurricane Jose, which buzzed the Leeward Islands as it moved north and west in Irma's wake last week, has now weakened, with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

The storm follows Irma, a huge hurricane that once seemed destined to hit the SC coast. The projected path of Maria takes it straight toward Puerto Rico.

Hurricane watches have been issued for St. Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe, Dominica, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Maria could strike Puerto Rico as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane on Wednesday, the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan said.

Wherever Maria goes, chances are SC will feel it in the surf.

The latest NHC storm track has Jose remaining at least a tropical storm throughout the week as it prepares to make another circular turn off the coast of Cape Cod.

While Floridians may be relieved, Puerto Rico is in Hurricane Maria's cross-hairs. But the hurricane's storm surge and heavy rains could post grave threats, from triggering mudslides to frustrating relief and recovery efforts in places where thousands of buildings were heavily damaged by Irma. According to verified sources, Hurricane Jose is set to bring immediate threat which includes beach erosion, rip currents, and heavy rain to the U.S. mainland, mainly in North Carolina, Massachusetts, and parts of New York, Philadelphia, and Washington.

  • Leroy Wright