Tracking the tropics: Jose, Lee and Maria now eyeing land

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In the Atlantic, Jose formed in the wake of Irma, the huge and deadly storm that ravaged islands in the Caribbean before bringing a massive storm surge and heavy rains to Florida and neighboring states.

A host of Caribbean islands - some of them slammed by Hurricane Irma last week - began the 48-hour countdown to Hurricane Maria as the storm's winds increased overnight, according to the National Hurricane Center. Surges from the storm are likely to cause risky surf and rip currents for most of the East Coast.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 miles.

Surf swells are also impacting many areas, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, the northern coasts of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico and the southeast coast of the USA, including North Carolina.

The hurricane center said rip currents and rough surf will be possible for the next several days along the East Coast. Tropical storm watches are in effect for St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Fourteen was poorly organized but also forecast to become a tropical storm over the weekend.

As of 10 a.m. CDT Sunday, Hurricane Jose was located about 355 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and was moving north at 9 mph.

Warm waters are fueling the storm, which is expected to attain hurricane status by late Monday, forecasters said.

Weather conditions for eastern Long Island were still expected to worsen by Tuesday. The storm is now moving toward the Caribbean at 19 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A northwestward movement is expected to continue as it becomes Hurricane Maria early next week. Forecasts this far in advance can be hundreds of miles off, though. Maria is expected to intensify in the coming days as the environment is favorable.

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