Hurricane Maria Is Following Irma’s Path and Getting Stronger

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(CNN) — Hurricane Maria is forecast to rapidly strengthen over the next two days as it takes aim at Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma just days ago.

The storm is expected to be a major hurricane when it hits the Leeward Islands over the next few days, intensifying to a Category 4 hurricane in 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest update.

As of Sunday at 11 p.m. ET, Maria was about 100 miles (165 kilometers) northeast of Barbados and about 210 miles (340 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica, the center said. It had strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 mph and is forecast to continue moving toward the eastern Caribbean at 13 mph.

“Maria continues to strengthen and is expected to be at major hurricane intensity when it affects portions of the Leeward Islands over the next few days, bringing dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards,” the hurricane center said.

Maria is one of three storms churning in the Atlantic Ocean, but it poses the most danger to the hurricane-battered Caribbean.

Maria has prompted a hurricane warning for Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Lucia. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.

The warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Barthelemy and Anguilla — many of which were devastated when Irma blew through the Caribbean, killing 44 people. A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.

“Maria is likely to affect the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by midweek as a dangerous major hurricane,” the NHC said.

Torrential rainfall could cause deadly flash flooding and mudslides. Maria could dump 6 to 12 inches of rain across the Leeward Islands — including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands — through Wednesday night.

Hurricane Jose

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose is maintaining its intensity as it churns north, threatening “dangerous surf and rip currents” along the US East Coast in the next few days, the hurricane center said.

Late Sunday, the Category 1 hurricane was about 305 miles (490 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and moving north at 9 mph.

While the center of Jose is expected to stay off from the US East Coast, “swells generated by Jose are affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas, and much of the US east coast,” the NHC said.

“These swells are likely to cause dangerous surf and rip current conditions for the next several days in these areas.”

The hurricane center said that Jose would produce heavy rain as it passes near southern New England and the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday and Wednesday, but that based on current forecasting the risk of flooding would be “limited in scope.”

Tropical Depression Lee

Lee, the third storm in the Atlantic, fizzled from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Sunday, the hurricane center said.

As of Sunday night, the storm was about 980 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.

Lee’s maximum sustained winds have sputtered to 35 mph, and are expected to further weaken in the coming days.


  • RicU.

    El MA, Natalie Wood would be very happy to hear you say that if she were still alive.>>> “Always the hurricane blowing.”
    This weather is similar to 2004 when even “perpetual ownership” of timeshares were squashed. I know and am not crying about it.
    The weatherman for WNEP 16 has likened this to 7 years ago. Can some one please ask him what kind of winter weather we had then?

    • El Ma

      RICU, every year, the weather pattern is similar to some previous pattern. It’s a crap-shoot to use weather models as a means of prediction. When they’re wrong, meteorologists are really, really wrong. When they’re right, it’s cause to celebrate, I guess.

      As per winter? When I was a child, I had neighbors that were born in the late 1800’s. They were some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met, bar none. These folks shared folklore that, generally speaking, still makes sense, today. But, nobody can predict the weather to perfection.

      Natalie Wood – bless her heart. They didn’t let her sing with her own voice in that movie.

      • RicU.

        EL MA,
        You are correct about weather being unpredictable. However, each year the data bases get better as do the algorithms and computers. So I am hoping for something more scientific than the Farmer’s Almanac.

        Yes, Natalie Wood never used her voice for the movie. It was dubbed over. She was gorgeous.

  • The hurricane scholar

    There’s a twisted part of me that would love to see Maria slam either Florida or Houston. Am I wrong in my thinking? Besides, think about it, why would we want to see it hit anywhere else? These areas have ALREADY been destroyed, why decimate an otherwise untouched area? That would be financially unacceptable.

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