Maria Threatens Overseas Territories
Published 18th September 2017, 9:48am
At 800 AM AST the center of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 59.7 West. Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night. On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands late today and tonight, and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. Maria is currently a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane before it moves through the Leeward Islands.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km).
The minimum central pressure estimated from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft data is 967 mb (28.56 inches).
The models are in close agreement on the track of Irma and the current forecast calls for the onset of Tropical Storm Force winds for Montserrat at approximately 8PM tonight (Eastern Time) and the onset of Hurricane Force Winds at 3AM tomorrow morning. Maria is expected to pass about 50 miles South West of Montserrat at close point of approach tomorrow morning at 6AM.
The onset of Tropical Storm Force winds for Anguilla is expected at 10 AM (EST) September 19th with the closest point of approach being approximately 100 miles South West of the Island at 5 PM tomorrow.
The onset of Tropical Storm Force winds for BVI is expected to occur at 3 PM tomorrow (September 19th) and the onset of Hurricane Force winds at 11 PM (tomorrow).