Jose strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale and is expected to become a major hurricane on Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 miles per hour (65 kph) with higher gusts. The center of Katia is expected to remain off the shore of Mexico through Friday morning.
If Irma hits Florida as a Category 4 or 5 storm, it will be the first time in the historical record that the USA was hit by two Cat 4 or 5 storms in one year, according to Colorado State University meteorology professor Phil Klotzbach.
Irma destroyed four of the most solid government buildings on the French-administered portion of nearby St. Martin, an island of about 75,000 people, French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said Wednesday in Paris.
The storm had the potential to become a major hurricane Friday if winds reached 111 miles per hour or above, CNBC reported.
It is feared the storm may strengthen to a potentially devastating category three hurricane, which can bring winds of up to 129mph.
Earlier this week, parts of the Lesser Antilles, including the island of Barbuda, took a direct hit from Irma.More news: Japan's Princess Mako announces engagement to university classmate, will relinquish royal status
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Irma is the strongest Atlantic storm outside of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
Having three hurricanes active at the same time in the Atlantic Basin is rather rare.
- Floridians should heed any evacuation order, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday.
Hurricane Jose has been upgraded to a category 3 hurricane, and it is heading for the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.
There have been no coastal watches or warnings issued for Hurricane Jose so far.