Issued 10am AEST Saturday, September 9th 2017. After copping a direct hit from Irma, the Leeward Antilles are forecast to receive a second hit from a Category 4+ system in less than a week, with Jose closing in fast on the region. Above image via RAAMB / CIRA
Only a matter of days ago, Major Hurricane Irma (Category 5 at the time) directly hit the Leeward Antilles as her first official landfall area. Irma caused catastrophic and deadly destruction across the region, where the Prime Minister stated that Barbuda had 90% of its buildings completely destroyed and the other 10% were unliveable, along with that… 100% of communications were downed. Irma then went on to completely destroy 85% or more of St Martin / St Maarten’s to the point where access to the region is near impossible.
Now, these same islands are under another hurricane warning as Jose nears them. Jose was upgraded overnight Friday into Saturday (AEST) to a high end and very dangerous Category 4 system with sustained winds to 150mph (this is only 7mph shy of Category 5 strength). The system is expected to narrowly miss a direct landfall over the islands, however this means very little as the very destructive wind gusts are still expected to impact the region causing further damage. On top of the winds, another round of dangerous storm surges are likely which will once again flood coastal regions.
Jose is then expected to move North-Westwards away from the Islands into the middle of the Atlantic where he will sit for a considerable amount of time, impacting nobody. Long range models suggest Jose could be very long lived, but that will be something to watch down the track.. not now. The question that needs asking… do these islands even know he’s coming?