Hurricane Isabel rages west over Atlantic Ocean
MIAMI (AFP) Sep 12, 2003
Full-strength Hurricane Isabel was continuing its path westward Friday toward the central Antilles with maximum force winds blowing at 260 kilometers an hour (162 miles an hour), according to the National Hurricane Center.

Isabel became the first Atlantic storm Thursday to reach maximum intensity, since Hurricane Mitch in 1998, as the NHC upgraded Isabel to a Category Five hurricane on the Saffir-Simspon storm scale.

At 1500 hours GMT, Isabel's center was located some 600 kilometersmiles) to the east-northeast of the Caribbean's Leeward Islands, according to the Miami-based NHC.

Moving at 15 kilometers an hour (9 miles an hour), Isabel is expected to hit the open seas to the north of Puerto Rico over the weekend, before heading north toward the Bahamas island group in the coming week.

Though this projected trajectory would place Isabel closer to Florida's eastern shore, the NHC's Ricard Pasch said:"It is just too early to talk about specific landfall scenarios" partly because storm directions are not 100 percent predictable.