The storm is expected to decrease in forward speed over the next few days. And while its center is forecast to track near the Leeward Islands Friday, it should pass well north of Puerto Rico on Saturday and be well east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas on Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said.
“At this time, we expect Jerry to continue on a west-northwest path which should take the core of the storm with hurricane-force sustained winds north of the Leewards, including the British and United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico spanning Friday and Saturday,” Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather’s top hurricane expert, said.
“We are still concerned that Jerry may take a slightly more westerly track for a time,” Kottlowski said. “If that happens, Jerry could pass very close to the Leeward Islands, and dangerous and damaging conditions could unfold.”
Jerry is expected to continue to strengthen rapidly as it did on Tuesday and Wednesday, due to sufficiently warm water to cultivate growth.
There is a chance the tropical cyclone could intensify to Category 3 status into the end of this week before encountering increasing wind shear that could cause it to weaken this weekend and early next week.
While the projected track of Jerry later in the weekend and next week is one that takes the system over the open waters of the western Atlantic, to the east of the United States, its progress will have to be monitored. Bermuda could also face some impacts from Jerry by the middle of next week, AccuWeather forecasters say.
On Thursday morning, the NHC said a Hurricane Hunter aircraft sent to take a closer look and gather data determined the storm to be a hurricane.