As Norma nears Mexico, Maria becomes new threat to Caribbean

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Hurricane season roared on as Jose threatened heavy surf along the U.S. East Coast, Tropical Storm Norma was set to brush Mexico’s resort-studded Baja California Peninsula, and Tropical Storm Maria formed in the Atlantic and was expected to strengthen into a hurricane and slam some already-battered Caribbean islands.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the southern Baja California Peninsula in Mexico due to Norma, which weakened into a tropical storm on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Norma was 185 miles (300 kilometers) south of Cabo San Lucas and moving north at 5 mph (7 kph) late Saturday night, with forecasters saying it could approach waters southwest of the peninsula late Sunday or early Monday.

This image made available by the NOAA-NASA GOES Project shows tropical weather systems Hurricane Norma, left, on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico; Jose, center, east of Florida; Tropical Depression 15, second from right, north of South America, and Tropical Storm Lee, right, north of eastern Brazil, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at 2:45 p.m. EDT. (NOAA-NASA GOES Project via AP)

The peninsular region that’s home to the twin resort cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo was hit about two weeks ago by Tropical Storm Lidia, which flooded streets and homes and killed at least four people.

The Baja California Sur government readied storm shelters and canceled classes for Monday as well as a planned military parade in the state capital, La Paz, amid Mexican Independence Day celebrations.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Jose was moving slowly and far from land but generating powerful swells that were affecting coastal areas in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the U.S. southeast.

The center added that tropical storm watches were possible for the U.S. East Coast later in the day and advised people from North Carolina to New England to monitor Jose’s progress.

Life Threatening rip-currents are expected along the East Coast of the United States.

The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). It was located about 465 miles (750 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was heading north at 7 mph (11 kph).

The hurricane center said Tropical Storm Maria formed and is expected to strengthen, prompting hurricane watches are in effect for Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Saba and St. Eustatius – some of which were devastated by Hurricane Irma.

The hurricane center said Maria is about 545 miles (880 kms) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. It had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and was heading west at 16 mph (26 kph). It should approach the Leeward Islands on Monday.

The death toll from Irma in the Caribbean was 38.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee formed in the Atlantic and Tropical Storm Otis in the Pacific on Saturday. Neither threatened land.

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