Hurricane Maria has Puerto Rico in its crosshairs this evening. As of 7:00 PM AST, Maria has maximum sustained winds of 175 mph with a minimum pressure of 909 mb. The Virgin Islands as well as Puerto Rico are under a hurricane warning and conditions are starting to deteriorate rapidly as Maria gets closer. Hurricane Irma barely touched Puerto Rico leaving the strongest part of the storm north of the island. Puerto Rico will not be that lucky, however, as Hurricane Maria is expected to make a direct hit. Forecasters are calling it a “potentially devastating storm.” Additional strengthening is expected tonight as Maria shows no signs of weakening. Life-threatening storm surge, flooding due to heavy rainfall and very high swells are the main concerns from Maria. This is, of course, in addition to the 175 mph winds with 200+ mph wind gusts. After making landfall in Puerto Rico, Maria is forecasted to weaken as it makes the turn to the northwest, and then eventually north. However, Maria is still expected to remain a major hurricane until at least Saturday. The U.S East Coast as well as Bermuda need to be paying attention to forecasts in case they change.
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ⓒ Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell