MIAMI (AP) – Deadly Hurricane Jeanne could head back toward the United States and threaten the storm-battered Southeast coast, including Florida, as early as this weekend, forecasters said Wednesday.

It was too soon to tell where or if Jeanne would hit, but forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned residents from Florida to Maryland to watch the storm with 90 mph top sustained winds.

Some computer models had Jeanne curving out to sea and missing land, but others had it hitting the United States on Saturday or Sunday, forecasters said.

Jeanne was blamed for more than 700 deaths in Haiti, where it hit over the weekend.

It had been moving out to sea, but appeared to be looping back toward land, forecasters said.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Jeanne was centered about 530 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. It was moving south near 5 mph, but was expected to head west by early Thursday.

Dangerous surf and rip currents along with large swells are possible along the southeastern U.S. coast over the next few days, forecasters said. If Jeanne hit Florida, it would follow Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan, which caused billions of dollars of damage and more than 60 deaths across the state.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Karl weakened slightly and stayed on an open-ocean course that only threatened ships, while Tropical Storm Lisa moved slowly far out in the Atlantic.

Karl, the seventh hurricane this season, had top sustained winds near 105 mph, down from about 120 mph a day earlier. At 11 a.m., Karl was centered about 1,490 miles west-southwest of Fayal Island in the Western Azores and was moving north near 14 mph.

At 11 a.m., Lisa had top sustained winds near 50 mph, down from about 70 mph a day earlier. The 12th named storm of the season was centered about 1,165 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest near 6 mph.

The hurricane season ends Nov. 30.



On the Net:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

AP-ES-09-22-04 1205EDT


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