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Jose Now a Major Category 3 Hurricane – Threat to the Northern Leeward Islands

Hurricane Jose continues to strengthen in the Atlantic Ocean and now is a category 3 storm, the third major hurricane of this season. The storm has 120 mph maximum sustained winds, with higher gusts to 150 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles. The storm is located about about 590 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, moving west-northwest at 18 mph. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, with a a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius.

It is rare to have two major hurricanes simultaneously in the Atlantic basin, especially in such close proximity as Irma and Jose. The last time this happened was in 2010 when Igor and Julia were both major hurricanes on September 15-16, and then Igor and Karl were both major hurricanes briefly on September 17.

Throughout the day, Jose has been developing an well defined eye. Thunderstorms remains very symmetric around the center and a well-defined mid-level eye was evident in satellite imagery throughout the morning. Outflow remains well established in all quadrants, despite the close proximity of Irma to the west. The pressure has dropped substantially throughout the day, down 12 millibars in just the last 3 hours to 966 mb. All of these conditions are perfect ingredients for strengthening, along with warm water temperatures and minimal level wind shear aloft.  Jose has thus far not felt negative impacts from the dry air situated just to its west and northwest. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Jose is expected to become a category 4 storm on Friday. Longer term into the weekend, models do show that some of the dry air to the west of Jose may wrap into the circulation, causing some weakening.

Hurricane force winds are possible within the hurricane watch area on Saturday, and tropical storm conditions are possible within the hurricane watch and tropical storm watch areas by Saturday
morning. Jose is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 6 inches in the Leeward Islands from Dominica to Anguilla. Isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches are possible in the northern Leeward Islands from Antigua and Barbuda to Anguilla. This rainfall will maintain any ongoing flooding and may cause additional life-threatening flooding. Swells generated by Jose are likely to affect portions of the Leeward Islands by Saturday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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