Hurricane Maria made landfall near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico early Wednesday morning as a Category 4 storm. The US and British Virgin Islands were hit hard by Maria as well, with a wind gust of 106 mph reported overnight in St. Croix.
The entire territory of Puerto Rico was without power as of Wednesday afternoon. The National Hurricane Center has warned of flooding and landslides as 6-9 feet of storm surge and 20+ inches of rain are both possible.
Maria moved over Puerto Rico after making landfall over Dominica Monday night as a Category 5 storm. Maria had strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane Monday evening, becoming the fourth major hurricane of the Atlantic Basin’s 2017 season and the second Category 5 storm of the 2017 season.
Maria is now moving past Puerto Rico, moving to the north side of Hispaniola . A Hurricane Warning extends from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas.
Maria is expected to take a turn to the north, missing Florida by the end of the week. Most models are in agreement that Maria will stay out to sea from the US Mainland and weaken through next weekend. There is still a chance however that Maria could impact the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast Coast next week. The likely impacts would be similar to those of Jose, with high seas and rough surf along the east coast.
Below is additional information from the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Maria Advisory Number 18
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL152017
1100 AM AST Wed Sep 20 2017
…DESTRUCTIVE WINDS AND FLOODING CONTINUE OVER PORTIONS OF PUERTO
…CENTER OF MARIA APPROACHING THE NORTHERN COAST OF PUERTO RICO…
SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST…1500 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 15 MI…25 KM ESE OF ARECIBO PUERTO RICO
ABOUT 25 MI…40 KM W OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…140 MPH…220 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NW OR 305 DEGREES AT 12 MPH…19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…930 MB…27.47 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
The government of France has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning
for St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
The government of St. Maarten has discontinued the Tropical Storm
Warning and Hurricane Watch for St. Maarten.
The government of the Netherlands has discontinued the Tropical
Storm Warning for Saba.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques
* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
* Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of
the Dominican Republic and Haiti
* Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and
property should be rushed to completion.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible
within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before
the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds,
conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola and the Bahamas should monitor the
progress of Maria.
For storm information specific to your area in the United States,
including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor
products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast
office. For storm information specific to your area outside the
United States, please monitor products issued by your national
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Maria was located
inland over Puerto Rico near latitude 18.4 North, longitude 66.5
West. Maria is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h),
and this general motion with a gradual decrease in forward speed is
expected through early Friday. On the forecast track, the center of
Maria will move offshore of the northern coast of Puerto Rico during
the next couple of hours. The center will then pass offshore of the
northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday
and then move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern
Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher
gusts. Maria is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson
Hurricane Wind Scale. Little change in strength is forecast during
the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to remain a dangerous
major hurricane through Friday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the
center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150
miles (240 km).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 930 mb (27.47 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are occurring over
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Tropical storm conditions are
expected to begin in the warning areas in the Dominican Republic
this afternoon, with hurricane conditions starting in the hurricane
warning area tonight. Tropical storm conditions are expected to
begin in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas
Thursday morning, with hurricane conditions starting Thursday
Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains
and on high-rise buildings could be much stronger than the near-
surface winds indicated in this advisory.
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the
tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by
rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is
expected to reach the following heights above ground if the peak
surge occurs at the time of high tide…
Puerto Rico…6 to 9 ft
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to
the north and east of the landfall location, where the surge will be
accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding
depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and
can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to
your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather
Service forecast office.
A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves
will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet above normal tide
levels in the hurricane warning area in the Dominican Republic, and
1 to 3 ft elsewhere along the northern coasts of the Dominican
Republic and Haiti.
A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves
will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal
tide levels in the hurricane warning area near and to the north of
the center of Maria for both the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks
and Caicos Islands.
RAINFALL: Maria is expected to produce the following rainfall
totals through Friday:
Puerto Rico…12 to 18 inches, isolated 25 inches
U.S. and British Virgin Islands…additional 5 to 10 inches,
isolated 15 inches
Northern and eastern Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and
southeast Bahamas…8 to 16 inches, isolated 20 inches
Northern Haiti…2 to 4 inches
Rainfall on these islands will cause life-threatening flash floods
TORNADOES: Several tornadoes are possible over Puerto Rico and the
U.S. Virgin Islands today.
THE EYE: Do not venture outside when the calm eye of the hurricane
passes over, as dangerous winds will return very quickly when the
eye moves away.
SURF: Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Leeward Islands,
Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These swells will begin
affecting the northern coast of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos
Islands, and the Southeastern Bahamas during the next day or two.
These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip
current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather