Jose downgraded to tropical storm

Jose has weakened to a tropical storm, but forecasters expect dangerous surf and rip currents will continue along the East Coast of the U.S. for several days. 

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Jose’s top winds have decreased to about 70 mph Tuesday night, and it’s expected to weaken more over the next two days.

The storm is 230 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and is forecast to pass well east of New Jersey’s coast Wednesday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island and parts of Cape Cod.

In Nantucket, some downtown shops are taking precautions by placing sandbag piles outside, CBS Boston reports

Waves could reach 10-20 feet and wind gusts could be up to 60 miles.

“Everyone was at the Stop and Shop yesterday getting everything, they were out of bread and eggs,” said resident Diane Bastarche. “Everybody runs but what are you going to do? It’s an island.”

Even while some full-time residents were taking ferries out, others were coming in.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for eastern Long Island’s Suffolk County from Fire Island to Port Jefferson, the National Hurricane Center.

New York state officials have deployed members of the National Guard and specialized emergency response units to prepare for potentially severe weather, CBS New York reports.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says 100 members of the National Guard, 13 members of an urban search and rescue team, and 20 high-axle vehicles will set up a command post at a welcome center on the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills in Suffolk County.

“We have deployed equipment from all across the state that has come down that might be relevant to the weather patterns we’re seeing here,” Cuomo said. “Members of the 106 Air Wing Power Jumpers who just got back from Texas and Florida where they were on duty helping out there, and they’re with us today to help us out today.”  

Residents in low-lying areas along the South Shore are doing all they can to prepare against the possible punishing effects of tropical storm force winds.

“We pulled in one boat and pulled in the lawn furniture, battening down to make sure nothing is flying around,” Mastic Beach resident Cathryn Kobasiuk said.

Ocean water is already pooling in areas typically covered in sand and beach chairs and blankets. Families have been getting in what last-minute fun they can before the rain.

At one point, the storm had reached a powerful Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds…

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