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Leeward islands on alert, major Hurricane Irma churns toward Caribbean
by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Sept 4, 2017

US East Coast keeps wary eye on Irma, another powerful hurricane
Washington (AFP) Sept 3, 2017 - Barely a week after Hurricane Harvey devastated large swaths of the US Gulf coast, Americans on the East Coast on Sunday were warily watching the progress of another major storm, Hurricane Irma.

For now, those fears are mostly speculative, as the Category 3 storm remains far out in the Atlantic. Its track is, as the Weather Channel described it, "still uncertain and difficult."

But some forecasters projected a turn north that could target a large swath of the heavily populated mid-Atlantic region on the East Coast.

The US National Hurricane Center, in an advisory issued at 11 am (1500 GMT), said the storm has maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph), with some strengthening expected during the next 48 hours.

It cautioned those in the Leeward Islands -- situated where the northeastern Caribbean meets the western Atlantic -- to "monitor the progress of Irma," adding that parts of those islands might face hurricane or tropical storm watches by evening.

The islands, also known as the Society Islands, have a population of just over 30,000.

But as to "Hazards Affecting Land" from Irma, the NHC said Sunday that, for now, there were "none."

Hurricane Irma, already a major hurricane, churned Sunday on course for the northern Caribbean and was due to strengthen before it nears landfall late Tuesday, weather forecasters said.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Kitts, and Nevis; Saba, St Eustatius, and Sint Maarten; Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy.

At 0300 GMT Monday, the storm was packing top sustained winds near 115 mph (185 km/h), the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The storm, on the heels of Hurricane Harvey's devastation in the United States, is moving toward the west-southwest near 14 mph (22 km/h).

"Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, as it continues moving into waters generally a bit warmer," the center said.

On the forecast track, Irma's eye is expected to approach the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday, the NHC said.

"Swells generated by Irma will begin affecting the northern Leeward Islands on Monday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," it warned.

Death toll in Mexico from Tropical Storm Lidia rises to 7
La Paz, Mexico (AFP) Sept 2, 2017
The death toll from Tropical Storm Lidia that swept across Mexico's Baja California peninsula has risen to seven, officials said Saturday. Five of the deaths occurred at the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, the local government said. Erasmo Palemon, attorney general for the state of Baja California Sur said that while the deaths were tragic, "it is sometimes the responsibility of the citiz ... read more

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