Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands could see watches issued as early as Sunday.
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. The center of the storm is expected to stay over the Atlantic Ocean, but the storm's backside could scrape parts of the Northeast.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for all of Long Island with heavy rain and wind expected, especially on the East End, as Hurricane Jose passes east of Montauk late Tuesday night into Wednesday.
A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the U. S. Virgin Islands.
Maria has winds at 50 miles per hour and is moving west at 20 miles per hour.
Jose is expected to pass close to Long Island on Tuesday and into Wednesday, but it's not now expected to make landfall.
Maria has continued to strengthen and is now a category 5 hurricane moving toward the Leeward Islands.
The hurricane Jose was about 480 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina on Saturday moving northwest at 9 mph with sustained winds of 80 mph.
Tropical storm watches are posted for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Jose is expected to bring strong winds and rain to Bermuda today and into tomorrow after it passes to the islands west and tracks north off the east coast of the United States. Hurricane and tropical storm watches have been issued for portions of the Lesser Antilles in anticipation of unsafe wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center.
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