Hurricane Maria forecast to become Category 4

Hurricane Maria forecast to become Category 4

Hurricane Maria forecast to become Category 4

Lee poses no threat land and through the next week will remain out over the open Atlantic. It is expected to strengthen as it makes its way west, forcing Caribbean islands to prepare for Maria's arrival even as they recover from the destruction Hurricane Irma left behind a week ago.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said Hurricane Maria's maximum sustained winds had increased to near 110 miles per hour with higher gusts and rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

It's still far more likely than not that Jose will stay out at sea, but the NHC reported at 11 am Saturday that parts of the United States are already feeling effects from the storm.

Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch is out for the U.S. East Coast from Fenwick Island, Delaware, north to Nantucket, Massachusetts, because of Hurricane Jose.

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Tropical Storm Maria formed Saturday afternoon in the Atlantic outside the Caribbean Sea.

Maximum sustained winds for Maria are around 120 miles per hour with higher gusts, with "significant" strengthening forecast over the next two days, the center said.

"Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 to 36 hours, and Maria is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane during the next couple of days", the NHC says.

Maria is expected to track towards the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola during the midweek and will deliver flooding rain, damaging winds and mudslides.

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On its current path, PTC #15 - or what will likely become Maria - will most likely move toward areas previously hit by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose, including Barbuda, Antigua and Puerto Rico, later this week.

Maximum sustained winds were holding at 50 miles per hour.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for... Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center. Meteorologists expect its progress or movement to the west, triggering tropical storm conditions for North Carolina's Outer Banks on Monday. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or risky.

Potentially life-threatening rip currents will also be present, forecasters say.

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By Wednesday morning, Jose is forecast to stop moving north and begin re-curving east into the Atlantic.

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