HURRICANE TRACKER: Hurricane Maria Moves Up To Category 3, Puerto Rico Braces For Impact

By  //  September 18, 2017

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next update set for 5 p.m.

National Hurricane Center has upgraded to Hurricane Maria to a Category 3 hurricane after the latest report shows the storm reaching 125 max sustained winds. (NHC Image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – National Hurricane Center has upgraded to Hurricane Maria to a Category 3 hurricane after the latest report shows the storm reaching 125 max sustained winds.

Maria is located about 45 miles east-northeast from Martinique and 70 miles east-northeast of Dominica.

According to NHC, Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 10 mph, and this motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night.

Latest report from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 125 mph
with higher gusts.

Maria is located about 45 miles east-northeast from Martinique and 70 miles east-northeast of the Dominican Republic. (TWC Image)

Forecasters expect Maria to strengthen rapidly in the next 48-hours.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique, St. Lucia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Watches are also in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy and Anguilla.

National Hurricane Center says a dangerous storm surge will be accompanied with Maria that includes large and destructive waves which will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning area near where the center of Maria.

The storm surge forecast is for the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands, at this time.

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