Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Hurricane Maria now potentially catastrophic category 5 with 'dreaded pinhole eye'

Hurricane Maria is the latest storm to threaten the Caribbean Video Now Hurricane Maria threatens the Caribbean
Ben Pena | 19 September, 2017, 06:21

Less urgent "watches" were issued for the USA and British Virgin Islands where at least nine people were killed during Irma; French-Dutch island St Martin where 15 people died; Saba and St Eustatius; St Barthelemy and Anguilla.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130 miles per hour (215 km/h) with higher gusts.

The Coast Guard captain of the port San Juan anticipates setting port condition Yankee at 8 p.m. Monday for the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm has sustained maximum winds of 160 miles per hour and is likely to hit Puerto Rico as an "extremely unsafe hurricane". They said the storm is likely to affect the British and US Virgin Islands, both hard hit by Hurricane Irma, and Puerto Rico, by mid-week as a risky major hurricane.

Maria swiftly grew into a hurricane Sunday, and forecasters said it was expected to become much stronger over the coming hours following a path that would take it near numerous islands wrecked by Hurricane Irma and then on toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Maria now fits that description, and is expected to remain a major hurricane through the weekend.

A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the first occurrence of tropical storm-force winds while watches are issued 48 hours in advance.

The worst part of the storm is also likely to pass a good deal south of beleaguered Barbuda and Antigua, reeling from Hurricane Irma, but they may still get brushed by some strong wind gusts and heavy showers.

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A strengthening Hurricane Maria churned toward the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean on Monday as forecasters warned it was expected to become a major hurricane by early Tuesday.

- Central and southern Leeward Islands - 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.

Maria has prompted a hurricane warning for Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.

It's not yet clear what threat Maria poses to Florida or the USA coast, although a landfall looks unlikely.

"The government is prepared", Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a Facebook post, "and we ask of citizens preparation, attention, and action".

With Jose moving north at 9 miles per hour, a tropical storm watch is in effect for areas from Fenwick Island to Sandy Hook; Delaware Bay South; East Rockaway Inlet to Plymouth; Block Island; Martha's Vineyard; and Nantucket. "Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides", said the NHC.

The storm, positioned 265 miles east southeast of Cape Hatteras, was headed north at 10 mph at 11 a.m. Monday.

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