Caribbean islands brace again as Hurricane Jose approaches

The Caribbean islands of Barbuda, St. Martin and Anguilla were facing the threat of another major storm Saturday as Hurricane Jose loomed — even as they took in the massive destruction wrought by deadly Hurricane Irma.

A Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 mph, Jose was expected to veer toward the northwestern Caribbean islands Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The residents of Barbuda, still reeling from Irma, were forced to evacuate Friday to their sister island of Antigua, picked up by fishing boats and private vessels ahead of the next storm.

Devastating impact of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean

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Impact of Hurricane Irma on Caribbean islands
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Impact of Hurricane Irma on Caribbean islands
People pick up debris as Hurricane Irma howled past Puerto Rico after thrashing several smaller Caribbean islands, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
Hurricane Irma, ranked as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, churns across the Atlantic Ocean past Puerto Rico over Dominican Republic in this NASA GOES satellite image taken at 1715 EDT (2115 GMT) on September 6, 2017. Courtesy NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Fallen trees block a street as Hurricane Irma howls past Puerto Rico after thrashing several smaller Caribbean islands, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
A man reacts in the winds and rain as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Luquillo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben van Es / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben van Es / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
Yves (L) removes items from his roof in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Lauriers neighborhood of Cap-Haitien, on September 6, 2017, 240 km from Port-au-Prince. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Search and rescue crew members clears a fallen tree over a road during a search mission as hurricane Irma hits Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 6,2017. Irma is expected to reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by nightfall on September 6. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Search and rescue crew members clears a fallen tree during a search mission as hurricane Irma hits Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 6, 2017. Irma is expected to reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by nightfall on September 6. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
A bulldozer cleans debris in a canal, in Cap-Haitien, on September 6, 2017, 240 km from Port-au-Prince, in preparation before the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Some people in Cap-Haitien still do not have information on the arrival of Hurricane Irma and many others do not know what to do or where to go to take shelter. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
People take shelter in a school as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Children in a low-income neighborhood carry containers for water as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
TOPSHOT - Jean looks at the sea from a house where he is working in the neighborhood of Aviation in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on September 7, 2017. Hurricane Irma is barrelling past Haiti towards the Turks and Caicos Islands, and then the Bahamas. Irma has produced sustained winds at 295kph (183mph) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said Thursday. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
FAJARDO, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 06: Debris is seen during a storm surge near the Puerto Chico Harbor during the passing of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The category 5 storm is expected to pass over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and make landfall in Florida by the weekend. (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)
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Just after 8 a.m. ET Saturday, Jose was 160 miles east-southeast of the chain of islands, also known as the Leeward Islands, the hurricane center said.

The government of Antigua discontinued its hurricane watch for the island, which remained under a tropical storm watch Saturday.

More from NBC News: Hurricane Irma Leaves Path of Destruction in Caribbean

It was still unclear if the storm would make landfall but hurricane-force winds would likely sweep over the islands, said Michael Palmer, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

“The big takeaway for Jose is that it's threatening the same islands that have just been hit by Irma,” he said.

“While there may be nothing left to destroy … unfortunately after Irma, Jose could exacerbate the misery of the people who are still there,” Palmer added. 

RELATED: Images of Hurricane Jose

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Hurricane Jose
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Hurricane Jose
Hurricane Irma, downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday, is shown over Florida, along with Hurricane Jose (R) making a looping path in the western Atlantic Ocean in this NASA GOES satellite image taken at 1600 EDT (2000 GMT) on September 11, 2017. Courtesy NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose (R) and Hurricane Katia (L) are pictured in the Atlantic Ocean in this September 7, 2017 NOAA satellite handout photo. NOAA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Hurricane Irma (L) and Hurricane Jose are pictured in the Atlantic Ocean in this September 7, 2017 NOAA satellite handout photo. NOAA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
NARRAGANSETT, RI - SEPTEMBER 18: Sonny Sopollec of Holland, MA body surfs on waves caused by Hurricane Jose at Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, RI on Sep. 18, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NARRAGANSETT, RI - SEPTEMBER 18: A surfer rides a wave caused by Hurricane Jose at Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, RI on Sep. 18, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NARRAGANSETT, RI - SEPTEMBER 18: A surfer rides a wave caused by Hurricane Jose at Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, RI on Sep. 18, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NARRAGANSETT, RI - SEPTEMBER 18: Waves caused by Hurricane Jose crash into the jetty wall as a photographer tries to take a picture at Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, RI on Sep. 18, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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The storm was forecasted to pass the French territory of Guadeloupe at around 7 a.m. E.T. Saturday about 90 miles from the coast, said Jacques Witkowski, director general for the French Civil Security and Crisis Management.

Jose is then expected to move north toward the islands of St. Barts and St. Martin. The two islands will be closer to the eye of the storm and can expect to be pummeled by winds of up to 93 mph and very heavy rain, Witkowski added.

Jose was classified as a hurricane earlier this week and quickly intensified to a Category 4 storm on Friday.

"The hurricane is likely to meander around in the Caribbean and southwest Atlantic for about a week," Palmer said.

"The question is whether it will stay between Bermuda and the Bahamas for the next few days or it could be picked up in a low-pressure system and sit between Bermuda and the U.S.," he added.

Hurricane Irma slammed into the easternmost islands of the Caribbean on Wednesday before moving on and lashing Haiti and the Dominican Republic before targeting Cuba and southern Florida.

The powerful hurricane left a path of destruction in its wake, tearing off roofs, damaging buildings and bringing fearsome storm surges across the Caribbean. At least 23 people were killed.

On the island of Barbuda, which has a population of some 1,400 people, 90 percent of the buildings were destroyed, officials said.

"If you know Barbuda before and what you saw, it's completely destroyed," Michael Joseph, president of the Red Cross in Antigua and Barbuda, who was in Barbuda this week, said Friday on MSNBC.

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