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Hurricane warnings in northern Leeward Islands as Jose looms

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Government officials issued hurricane warnings Friday as Jose took aim at parts of the Leeward Islands days after Hurricane Irma devastated some of the region.

Hurricane Jose’s increased wind speed on Friday elevated it to an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center announced.

In its 5 p.m. advisory, the NHC said the eye of the storm was located about 335 miles east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands, the easternmost in the chain of Caribbean Sea islands, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. It’s moving west-northwest at a speed of 17 mph.

Forecasters called Jose a “powerful” hurricane. It is the 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and third major hurricane classified as Category 3 or higher.

“A turn toward the northwest with a decrease in forward speed is forecast tonight through the weekend. On the forecast track, the core of Jose will pass close or just east of the northern Leeward Islands.” the advisory said.

Hurricane warnings were issued for Barbuda and Anguilla, St. Martin and Barthelemy — also known as St. Bart’s — and Sent Maarten. There was a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch for Antigua, as well as a tropical storm warning for Saba and St. Eustatius. Tropical storm watches were in effect for Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis; the British Virgin Islands; and St. Thomas and St. John.

Jose’s track takes it north in the Atlantic, where it is expected to miss the United States — at least on its first pass.

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