Hurricane Maria has intensified rapidly. In the last 24 hours, Maria has gone from a tropical storm to a very dangerous Category 5 storm. Here are the current updates from the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Maria Special Discussion Number 11NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL152017
800 PM AST Mon Sep 18 2017
This special advisory is being issued to increase the initial and forecast intensity of Maria.
Recent reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Maria continues to rapidly strengthen. The aircraft measured SFMR winds of 139 kt in the northwest eyewall and an estimated minimum pressure of 925 mb, based on dropsonde data.
Based on these observations, the initial intensity of Maria has been increased to 140 kt, making Maria a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Some additional strengthening is possible during the next 24 hours, but fluctuations in intensity are likely due to eyewall cycles and land interaction. No change was made to the previous track forecast, and the extremely dangerous core of Maria is expected to pass over Dominica within the next hour or two.
1. Maria will affect portions of the Leeward Islands and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands as an extremely dangerous major hurricane during the next couple of days, and hurricane warnings are in effect for many of these islands.
2. Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico as an extremely dangerous major hurricane, and a hurricane warning has been issued for that island.
3. The potential for a life-threatening storm surge, accompanied by large and destructive waves, has increased for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
4. Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides from heavy rainfall are expected across the Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 19/0000Z 15.3N 61.1W 140 KT 160 MPH
12H 19/0600Z 15.7N 61.9W 145 KT 165 MPH
24H 19/1800Z 16.5N 63.3W 145 KT 165 MPH
36H 20/0600Z 17.3N 64.7W 140 KT 160 MPH
48H 20/1800Z 18.2N 66.2W 130 KT 150 MPH
72H 21/1800Z 20.0N 69.0W 125 KT 145 MPH
96H 22/1800Z 22.0N 71.5W 120 KT 140 MPH
120H 23/1800Z 25.0N 73.0W 105 KT 120 MPH