MIAMI -- Jerry is a hurricane, with a predicted path through the Atlantic and Caribbean that avoids land -- for now.
The 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center showed the storm has strengthened to maximum winds of 75 mph, with more strengthening on the way as Jerry encounters more warm water and favorable winds. The fourth hurricane of the 2019 season is expected to pass to the north of the Leeward Islands on Friday, a handful of which are under tropical storm watches.
The latest track keeps the storm far away from most land, although Thursday morning's update showed Bermuda has entered the five day "cone of concern." Bermuda was hit by Category 3 Hurricane Humberto on Wednesday, and Jerry could show up as a hurricane in about a week.
The National Weather Service said in a Thursday morning briefing that Jerry is "not expected to have any direct impact to South Florida," but the Atlantic coast may see some strong waves late next week.
Jerry is a little under 500 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Hurricane force winds extend 10 miles from the center of the storm, and tropical storm force winds stretch out to 45 miles from the center.
Tropical Storm watches are in effect for St. Maarten, St. Martin, Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius. The NHC forecasts those areas could see a couple inches of rain in the next few days and possible "life-threatening" rip currents.
On Sunday, Jerry is predicted to briefly weaken to a tropical storm before climbing back to a hurricane for its curve toward Bermuda.
"The cyclone should eventually turn northward and northeastward by day 5 due to a substantial break in the subtropical ridge," forecasters wrote.
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