Hurricane Maria started up picking up stream in the Atlantic on Sunday, as she heads towards the Caribbean already devastated by Irma. Meanwhile, as Florida is reeling from the last hurricane, there is concern that Maria may develop into a hurricane herself before possibly making landfall in the Sunshine State.
The official death toll for Hurricane Maria stands at 62 deaths. According to a report from The New York Times, as many as 1,052 may have died from the hurricane.
Update (9/21/17, 1:45 P.M. EST): After falling down a Category 2 storm, Maria restrengthened to Category 3 status Thursday morning, with maximum sustained winds as high as 120 mph. So far, Maria has left 18 people dead. Puerto Rico may be without power for four to six months. The island nation was hit with its worst hurricane in 80 years. Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello says a “new Puerto Rico” will need to be built. Throughout the island, a curfew has been set from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M., effective Wednesday to Saturday. On Thursday, Maria hit the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, and is traveling in the direction of to the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas. Maria has reportedly killed 15 people on the island of Dominica. The storm has also killed two people on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
Update (9/20/17, 2:22 P.M. EST): Maria has killed at least 8 people in the Caribbean. She transformed into a Category 4 hurricane, with winds up to 155 mph. The storm hit Puerto Rico hard “with force not seen in modern history.” On Wednesday, the storm also lashed the U.S. Virgin Islands. The island of Puerto Rico is currently without power as a result of Maria.
Update (9/19/17, 9:25 P.M. EST):Hurricane Maria is appearing more ferocious with each update, as she is currently a Category 5 storm with winds as high as 175 mph. Maria has been described by meteorologists as “potentially catastrophic.” Maria is currently eyeing Puerto Rico as a next potential target. Forecasters worry that the hurricane may impact the eastern half of the island, where 3.4 million residents live. As a result, evacuation orders have been issued to parts of Puerto Rico. “This storm promises to be catastrophic for our island,” said Ernesto Morales with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan. “All of Puerto Rico will experience hurricane force winds.” The storm has already swept through Dominica, killing at least one person in Guadeloupe.
Update (9/19/17): Hurricane Maria touched down in the island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm.
— NOAA Satellites – Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) September 19, 2017
Update (9/18/17; 7:23 P.M. EST): Maria is growing at an incredible rate. Within 24 hours, she went from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane. The storm has with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. As of an hour ago, Maria was spinning 45 miles east-south-east of Dominica and 35 miles northeast of Martinique. According to forecasters, Maria is moving towards Dominica at 9 mph. Maria’s expected to pass over the island of Dominica tonight.
Update (9/17/17; 5:00 P.M. EST): Maria has officially upgraded to hurricane status, according to USA Today.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Maria is likely to upgrade to hurricane status sometime on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds predicted to be as high as 74 mph. By Sunday afternoon, Maria already had maximum sustained winds up to 65 mph. A tropical storm warning is currently in effect in Martinique and St. Lucia. Meanwhile, a hurricane warning has been sent out to people living in Dominica and Guadeloupe.
As of an hour ago, Tropical Storm Maria was roughly 400 miles southeast of the Leeward Islands and more than 600 miles from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “It is moving along very quickly, which is concerning,” AccuWeather meteorologist Dave Samuhel said. “They are going to have a direct hit from a hurricane. The question is how strong will it be.”
Tropical Storm Maria 2017: Forecast, Map, Path & Live Updates
By Monday and Tuesday night, the islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe are expected to be hit by Maria. At that point, meteorologists predict that she will be a Category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds of 96-110 mph. Maria is expected to strike the U.S. Virgin Islands next (a day after hitting Dominica and Guadeloupe). “And it will likely be a stronger hurricane by at least a category,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Dave Samuhel.
By next weekend, meteorologists predict that Hurricane Maria will hit the Bahamas, driving it dangerously close to Florida. The Sunshine State is still repairing itself after the damage brought about by Irma. There is always a chance that hurricane may go off course and head north, according to AccuWeather’s Dave Samuhel. “We may luck out and it turns north,” he said. “Unfortunately it looks like a blocking high-pressure system could force it into Florida.”
By Monday night or Tuesday, Hurricane Maria may affect Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy and Anguilla, according to the NHC.
Meanwhile, on Monday, tropical storm conditions may touch down on St. Lucia, Martinique, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Here’s a look Tropical Storm Maria’s wind speed probabilities…