Potentially Catastrophic Hurricane Maria Headed for Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

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FLORIDA, United States, Tuesday September 19, 2017 – After causing devastation in Dominica and pounding Guadeloupe, a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 Hurricane Maria is now headed for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

At 11 a.m., Hurricane Maria, still carrying maximum sustained winds near 160 miles per hour, was about 115 miles west of Guadeloupe and 150 miles southeast of St Croix in the US Virgin Islands. It was moving towards the west northwest at 10 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said that on the forecast track, the eye of Maria will move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea today, and then pass near or over the Virgin Islands
and Puerto Rico tomorrow.

“Maria is a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Maria is forecast to remain an extremely dangerous Category 4 or 5 hurricane while it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” the NHC said.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…

* Guadeloupe

* Dominica

* St Kitts & Nevis and Montserrat

* US Virgin Islands

* British Virgin Islands

* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Antigua and Barbuda

* Saba and St Eustatius

* St Maarten

* Anguilla

* Martinique

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…

* Saba and St Eustatius

* St Maarten

* St Martin and St Barthelemy

* Anguilla

* Isla Saona to Puerto Plata

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* West of Puerto Plata to the northern Dominican Republic-Haiti border

Swells generated by Maria are still affecting the Lesser Antilles. Forecasters say hurricane conditions will continue to spread throughout portions of the hurricane warning area in the Leeward Islands this morning.  Hurricane conditions should spread through the remainder of the hurricane warning area later today and tomorrow.

The NHC added that a dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning area near where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

Maria is also expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Thursday, the NHC said:

Central and southern Leeward Islands – 10 to 15 inches; isolated 20 inches

US and British Virgin Islands – 10 to 15 inches; isolated 20 inches

Puerto Rico – 12 to 18 inches; isolated 25 inches

Northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla – 4 to 8 inches; isolated 10 inches

Windward Islands and Barbados – 2 to 4 inches; isolated 6 inches

Eastern Dominican Republic – 4 to 8 inches; isolated 12 inches

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