Hurricane Maria has intensified to a Category 4 storm, and is looking to strike Dominica this Monday night, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. The eye of the storm is expected to pass over Dominica tonight. But as of an hour ago, Maria was spinning 45 miles east-south-east of Dominica and 35 miles north east of Martinique. According to forecasters, Maria is moving towards Dominica at 9 mph.
Update (9/27/17): Earlier Wednesday, Maria moved past the coast of North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, causing storm surge flooding and life-threatening rip tides and currents. Hurricane Maria and Lee are expected to merge in the Atlantic before heading towards the United Kingdom this weekend.
Update (9/21/17, 1:48 P.M. EST): After falling down a Category 2 storm, Maria restrengthened to Category 3 status Thursday morning, with 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.
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
Maria may strike Puerto Rico on Wednesday. As a result of the impending hurricane, evacuation orders have been issued in parts of the island. “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 U.S. Virgin Island is expected to receive very strong winds and as much as two feet of rain from Maria. By Thursday, Maria is predicted to head through the Turks & Caicos islands. But by the time Maria gets there, she’s predicted to diminish in strength.
The Leeward and U.S. Virgin Islands may be hit with 6-9 feet tall storm surges. Up to 25 inches of rain is expected in the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.
The storm is expected to gain strength within the next 24 hours, and may increase to a Category 5 storm, with sustained winds as high as 155 mph. Maria is growing rapidly; in a 24-hour period she went from a tropical storm to a full blown Category 4 hurricane.
According to spaghetti maps, Maria may even head into Florida much like Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Maria Location: Where Is Hurricane Maria Right Now?
Presently, Maria is spinning ever closer to the island of Dominica. As of an hour ago, the hurricane was recorded as being 45 miles east-south-east of Dominica and 35 miles north east of Martinique.