ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Irma (all times local):
Dutch marines have dropped flyers from a helicopter warning beleaguered inhabitants on the devastated nation of St. Maarten to head to shelters as Hurricane Jose barrels through the Caribbean.
Jose, a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds, was forecast to pass close to St. Maarten over the weekend, delivering a second damaging blow to the former Dutch colony that suffered catastrophic damage when Category 5 Hurricane Irma slammed into it on Wednesday.
Peter Jan de Vin, a Dutch military commander on the island of Curacao who is helping coordinate relief efforts on St. Maarten, tweeted a picture Saturday morning of a marine dropping flyers out of a helicopter flying low over one of St. Maarten’s shattered seafront neighborhoods.
The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Irma is moving over the Camaguey Archipelago of Cuba as a Category 5 hurricane.
The center says Irma made landfall there late Friday and has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (257 kph). The hurricane is about 275 miles (443 kilometers) from Miami and moving about 12 mph (19.3 kph) toward the west.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katia made landfall late Friday north of Tecolutla, Mexico and weakened to a tropical storm, with winds reaching 45 mph (72.4 kph).
In the Atlantic, Hurricane Jose is a Category 4 hurricane, about 240 miles (386 kilometers)east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands, moving roughly westward at 14 mph (23 kph)with winds reaching 150 mph.
A newly strengthened Irma is taking aim at south Florida with 160 mph (257 kph) winds after battering Cuba and leaving more than 20 dead across the Caribbean, as another hurricane follows close behind.
Irma regained Category 5 status late Friday. Thousands of people in the Caribbean fought desperately to find shelter or escape their storm-blasted islands, and more than 6 million people in Florida and Georgia were warned to leave their homes.
Many residents and tourists were left reeling after the storm ravaged some of the world’s most exclusive tropical playgrounds, known for their turquoise waters and lush green vegetation. Among them: St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Thomas, Barbuda and Anguilla.
Irma threatened to push its way northward from one end of Florida to the other beginning Sunday morning.