Storm am­bles north off U.S. coast as Irma-like sys­tem eyes Florida Keys

Strike pos­si­ble from N.C. to New Eng­land

The Arizona Republic - - USA TODAY - Doug Stan­glin

As Hur­ri­cane Jose am­bled north­ward in the At­lantic far off the East Coast, an in­nocu­ous­sound­ing sys­tem known as “Trop­i­cal De­pres­sion 15” was stir­ring in the Caribbean Satur­day and could well fol­low Irma’s de­struc­tive path to­ward Florida as Hur­ri­cane Maria.

At 2 p.m. Satur­day, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter up­graded the one­time dis­tur­bance to a trop­i­cal de­pres­sion and said it was 695 miles east-south­east of the Lesser An­tilles, mov­ing west at 20 miles per hour. It had sus­tained winds of 35 mph.

Trop­i­cal storm watches were in ef­fect for St. Lu­cia, Mar­tinique, Guade­loupe, Do­minica and Bar­ba­dos.

The hur­ri­cane cen­ter said the de­pres­sion was fore­cast to be­come a trop­i­cal storm within hours and could be near or at hur­ri­cane strength when it ap­proaches the Lee­ward Is­lands Mon­day night or Tues­day.

Fore­cast maps show the storm mov­ing on an Irma-like path over Puerto Rico on Wed­nes­day and His­pan­iola on Thurs­day morn­ing head­ing straight to­ward the Florida Keys.

Hur­ri­cane Jose, mean­while, was 480 miles south-south­east of Cape Hat­teras, N.C., mov­ing north­west at 9 mph with max­i­mum sus­tained winds of 80 mph.

The cen­ter said “in­ter­ests” from North Carolina to New Eng­land should mon­i­tor the storm’s progress and ad­vised that trop­i­cal storm watches could be is­sued in the next day or two along the East Coast.

Else­where, Hur­ri­cane Norma moved closer to Mex­ico in the Pa­cific, while Trop­i­cal Storm Lee formed in the At­lantic far from land, head­ing west.

Norma is fore­cast to pass near the re­sort-stud­ded south­ern tip of Mex­ico’s Baja Cal­i­for­nia Penin­sula late Sun­day and early Mon­day.

The NHC said Trop­i­cal Storm Lee had sus­tained winds of 40 mph and was about 655 miles west of the Cabo Verde is­lands. Lit­tle change in strength was fore­cast over the next cou­ple of days.

KELLY JOR­DAN, USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

An Amer­i­can flag waves Thurs­day where a home in the Sea Breeze Re­sort in Is­lam­orada, Fla., used to stand be­fore it was de­stroyed when Hur­ri­cane Irma brought high winds and flood­ing.

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