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Hurricane Jerry has strengthened to a Category 2 storm and is heading north of the Leeward Islands

Posted at 5:15 AM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 08:15:29-04

Jerry strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane Friday and was packing sustained winds of 105 mph in the Atlantic as it headed in the direction of the northern Leeward Islands, forecasters said.

The storm will pass north of the islands later Friday and well north of Puerto Rico Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

By Sunday, it will be "well east-northeast" of the southeastern Bahamas, the center said.

The hurricane could pass near Bermuda in a little more than four days, it added.

Jerry, which was churning 290 miles east of the northern portion of the Leeward Islands early Friday, is expected to weaken throughout the day but will still remain a hurricane over the next couple of days, the center said. Its hurricane-force winds extended up to 25 miles while tropical storm-force winds could be felt 80 miles from the storm's center.

Tropical storm watches are in effect for the islands of St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius.

"Although the core of Jerry is expected to move north of the northern Leeward Islands, heavy rainfall and flash floods are possible there today," the center said.

Here's what you can expect

Jerry -- the 10th named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season -- will dump up to three inches of rain from Barbuda northwest across St. Maarten, Anguilla, and Anegada, the hurricane center said.

It will drop up to 2 inches of rain across the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, it said.

The northern Leeward Islands will also see swells that are likely to cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," according to the center.