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Katia becomes hurricane in Gulf of Mexico; Jose becomes a hurricane in Atlantic

  • Jose has intensified into a hurricane in the Atlantic
  • Katia is forecast to make landfall in Mexico
  • Three hurricanes total being tracked in the Atlantic

Two tropical storms intensified and were designated hurricanes Wednesday afternoon, said the National Hurricane Center.

Jose is located in the Atlantic while Katia is in the Gulf of Mexico. That means there are three hurricanes currently being tracked in the Atlantic.

Jose is moving west-northwest and maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts, according to a public advisory from the NHC. The storm is expected to strengthen further and could be close to becoming a major hurricane on Friday. No hurricane watches are yet in effect for Jose, though the NHC did say interests in the Leeward Islands should monitor the storm.

Forecasters expect Katia to begin moving southwest toward the eastern coast of Mexico, according to a public advisory from the NHC. It is forecast to bring torrential rains to the Mexican state of Veracruz, and the Mexican government has issued a hurricane alert for a portion of Veracruz's coast.

Major hurricanes are those that create winds of 111 mph or faster, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale. Major hurricanes are all those with a category rating of 3 of higher on the scale of 1-5.

Category 5 Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest ever observed in the Atlantic, continued its path through the Caribbean Wednesday afternoon. Forecasts largely expect that storm to make landfall in Florida in 4-5 days, though forecasters said there are a number of paths the storm could still take.

Both Katia and Jose were Category 1 storms as of Wednesday evening, making them far less intense than Irma. They were also far smaller. Hurricane-force winds extended up to 15 miles from the centers of both Jose and Katia, while hurricane-force winds stretched a full 50 miles from Irma's center, according to the NHC.

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