Hurricane Maria headed towards the Caribbean

Pat Wise
September 20, 2017

The Caribbean Islands prepare to be battered again as Tropical Storm Maria, expected to become a hurricane, approaches with sustained winds of 50 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning Monday morning for parts of MA and Rhode Island.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) predicts that Hurricane Maria, which is now category one, is heading straight for the Leeward Islands.

Hurricane warnings were issued for Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques, the USA and British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique.

These spaghetti plots, which can be found here, generally predict Hurricane Maria will pass over numerous islands listed above, as well as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides from heavy rainfall are expected across the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands.

At this point, however, it's too early to tell where Maria will go or if a US landfall will take place.

Maria comes less than two weeks after Irma made a deadly sweep through the area, killing at least 38 people across the Caribbean and causing catastrophic damage.

At 8 a.m., Hurricane Maria was located about 85 miles east of Martinique and 120 miles east southeast of Dominica and moving towards the west northwest at 12 miles per hour.

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And in the British Virgin Islands, where Irma's death toll also reached four, Gov. Augustus Jaspert said Maria could bring 6 to 20 inches of rain - and turn Irma's detritus into projectiles with its powerful winds.

Maria's winds are howling at a maximum speed of 120 miles per hour, with even higher gusts.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion", the National Hurricane Center stated in its advisory at 5:00 a.m. ET Tuesday, just two weeks after devastation in numerous same areas caused by Hurricane Irma.

A potentially life-threatening storm surge, accompanied by "large and destructive" waves, has increased for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to the center.

Storm Lee is also brewing above the Atlantic Ocean.

As of late Sunday, Lee was no threat to land and forecasters say it may weaken to a low pressure system by Monday night.

Maria is about 405 miles southeast of the Leeward Islands. Maria will need to continue to be watched this week.

Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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