Tropical Storm Jose expected to become hurricane

Representative Image

Hurricane Katia - one of three swirling south of the United States - strengthened to a Category 3 storm off Mexico's gulf waters, forecasters said Friday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Katia's maximum sustained winds are near 40 miles per hour with some strengthening forecast over the next two days.

The National Hurricane Center also said a tropical storm watch was in effect for the island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the British territories of Anguilla and Montserrat, and the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, which are part of the Netherlands.

Next up is Tropical Storm Jose, which is now in the Atlantic some 1,135 miles (1,825 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles and roaring towards the Caribbean.

Irma is the largest recorded storm in the Atlantic basin outside of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 185 miles per hour.

Jose's path is not forecast to be as unsafe or destructive as Irma's, however.

Hurricane Irma, a Category Five storm further to the west, is now battering the Caribbean and threatening Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and south Florida.

NHC noted that risky storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 7 feet above normal tide levels near and to the north of where Katia makes landfall.

A Hurricane Watch could be required for portions of the Mexican state of Veracruz later today. The storm dumped as much as 51.88 inches of rain in some spots and caused at least 60 deaths. However, 2017 has been an unusually active year for hurricanes.

Katia had formed as a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday morning, then reached hurricane status by the late afternoon.

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