The Updates On Hurricane Maria Look Especially Disastrous For Puerto Rico

A satellite image of Hurricane Maria as it approaches the Leeward Islands in the Atlantic
Credit
NASA

Maria is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, the hurricane that devastated the region this month.

Though categorized as a Category 5 storm when hitting Dominica, it has since been downgraded to a Category 4, after making landfall.

Hurricane Maria is causing major disruption across the Eastern Caribbean and cruise ports in San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands are now closed.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says a hurricane hunter plane checking on Maria after it pounded that small Caribbean island says the storm strengthened anew early Tuesday and again has top sustained winds of 160 miles per hour.

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The storm's hurricane-force winds extended about 30 miles from the eye, and tropical storm-force winds as far as 125 miles.

Maria is the third hurricane to hit Dominica in the span of a few weeks. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Maria is forecast to remain an extremely risky hurricane while it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

See the latest NHC advisory for a complete list of hurricane watches and warnings in effect for Maria. U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a state emergency for the area, and the U.S. Coast Guard has responded by positioning their craft and personnel in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

A private Catholic university in Florida has chartered a plane to fly students out of the Caribbean island of St. Croix as it braces for Maria. "From that perspective, it's a really tense moment and one that places Puerto Rico in a more precarious situation than before".

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The US National Hurricane Center said the hurricane had become "catastrophic", and the British Virgin Islands was in its path.

Central and southern Leeward Islands - 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches. The island will be battered by hurricane-force winds for the "better part of a day" on Wednesday, he told CNN.

Some models indicate that Maria will avoid the U.S. East Coast and careen into the Atlantic, but as The Washington Post noted, it's far too early to depend on that forecast.

Officials in Guadeloupe predicted severe flooding in low-lying areas and urged residents to move to higher ground.

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