MIAMI — Hurricane Jose strengthened to an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm Friday, with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm sits east of the Leeward Islands and is forecast to move west-northwest into the Atlantic Ocean over the coming days.
As of 9 a.m. MDT, a hurricane watch was in effect for Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla; St. Martin; and St. Barts — islands that were all just battered by Hurricane Irma.
The eye of Irma passed over Barbuda, a tiny Caribbean island of about 1,800 residents, on Wednesday, destroying telecommunication systems and cell towers.
The storm damaged about 95 percent of the buildings on the island, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.
This is the first time on record the Atlantic has had two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds at the same time, Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach said.
— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 8, 2017
In addition, Hurricane Katia in the Gulf of Mexico has maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and is expected to make landfall in Mexico early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Fluctuations in Hurricane Jose’s intensity are possible for the next day or so, the National Hurricane Center said, and the storm is expected to gradually weaken after that.