Hurricane season continues: Jose, Norma, Maria, Lee all on radar

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

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee formed in the Atlantic far from land.

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

Norma was 220 miles (355 kilometers) south of Cabo San Lucas and moving north at 2 mph (4 kph), with forecasters saying it could approach waters southwest of the peninsula late Sunday or early Monday.

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 far from land but generating powerful swells that the center said 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.

The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). It was located about 485 miles (775 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was heading north at 6 mph (9 kph).

Also Saturday, Tropical Storm Lee formed in the eastern Atlantic with sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). The storm was about 720 miles (1,160 kilometers) west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and posed no immediate threat to land.

To the west, Tropical Storm Maria formed and is expected to strengthen, prompting hurricane watches for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat – some of which were devastated by Hurricane Irma.

The hurricane center said Maria is about 620 miles (1,000 kms) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. It had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and was heading west at 20 mph (31 kph). It should approach the Leeward Islands on Tuesday.

The death toll from Irma in the Caribbean was 38.