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Hurricane Jose's center to move away from Caribbean islands devastated by Irma

American stranded in St. Martin

Hurricane Jose's center passed over a string of devastated Caribbean islands Saturday, threatening the region with potentially life-threatening floods, the National Hurricane Center said.

The powerful Category 4 storm currently has maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, the center said. As of 8 p.m. ET Saturday, the storm was located about 85 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Little change in intensity is expected overnight, but gradual weakening should begin on Sunday and continue on Monday.

The storm is moving northwest, meaning the core of Jose will continue to move away from the Leeward Islands, the hurricane center said.    

A tropical storm warning is still in effect for St. Martin/St. Maarten and St. Barthelemy, the National Hurricane Center said. 

Hurricane Jose with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, moving northwest at 14 mph. NASA Sport

Tropical storm watches for St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands have been discontinued, the hurricane center said. The tropical storm watches for Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands were discontinued as well. Barbuda was reduced to rubble by powerful Hurricane Irma, BBC News' Laura Bicker reported, as people evacuated for Jose.

"Be patient, we're going to get you all out," Prime Minister Gaston Browne told residents.  

Tiffany Bender, a New York City woman trapped in St. Martin/St. Maarten during Hurricane Irma, told CBSN that she had managed to escape to the only hotel island left standing. 

Residents flee tiny Barbuda, wiped out by Irma, ahead of Jose

"I cannot even describe or imagine ever going through something like this and to be on the verge of it again is absolutely terrifying," Bender said. 

Some of the Irma-ravaged islands could see tropical-storm force winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Jose, said Jeff Masters of the private forecasting service Weather Underground.

"It's insult added to injury definitely, but nothing compared to what they already went through," Masters said. "It's going to hamper relief efforts, so that's a big deal." 

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