UPDATE AS OF MONDAY AFTERNOON:
Hurricane Jose’s schizophrenic path might take it to Florida, but it’s too early to tell.
Jose, currently a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 mph, could take a path toward the Bahamas by Saturday, and it’s too soon to tell if South Florida will be hit.
The storm is currently 255 miles northeast of Grand Turk Island, which is southeast of the Bahamas, according to a U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami update at 5 a.m. on Monday.
The storm is moving in a bizarre clockwise loop direction before straightening out and going to the southern United States.
Hurricane Jose remained as a Category 4 storm with maximum winds of 130 mph.
The storm is located 110 miles north of the northern Leeward Islands, which include the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Barbuda, Antigua, and Saint-Barthélemy. These islands were impacted by Hurricane Irma.
But the chain of battered islands avoided a direct hit from Jose, which according to the National Hurricane Center, is expected to move northeast and weaken on Sunday.
A tropical storm warning was called off for Antigua and Barbuda. But a tropical storm warning remains in effect for St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
On Wednesday, Irma’s eye passed directly over Barbuda. It wiped out about 95 percent of the buildings there, said its prime minister, Gaston Browne. St. Marin was also heavily impacted, as were islands in the U.K. Virgin Islands.
Hurricane Irma, meanwhile, is Category 3 and is expected to strengthen as it moves across the Caribbean Sea from Cuba to South Florida on Sunday morning.
Irma was expected to rip through Florida’s southern archipelago on Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm, the second-highest designation on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Wind gusts near hurricane force began to batter the Florida Keys late on Saturday, the NHC said, Reuters reported.
The storm’s enormity over the past several days has daunted even veteran forecasters. Hurricane force winds extended 70 miles (112 km) from Irma’s center as it veered toward Florida, a state around 150 miles (240 km) wide.
Irma reportedly killed 22 people in the Caribbean.
Tracking models showed Irma would make landfall on the western side of the Florida peninsula and heading up the coast, bringing 130-mph (209 kph) winds, storm surges up to 15 feet (4.6 meters) and flooding in some areas.
Another storm, Hurricane Katia, made landfall Friday north of Tecolutla, Mexico, as a Category 1 hurricane. It weakened to a tropical depression by Saturday morning, the NHC said. But it is bringing heavy rains to the region still.
Reuters contributed to this report.