Hurricane Maria passed north of Barbados, bringing tropical storm conditions including steady downpours that triggered a flood warning for the island. And as the Category 2 hurricane continues on its track through the Leeward Islands, forecasters say it could be a major hurricane later today.
And Maria is taking aim at Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma less than two weeks ago.
The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said Hurricane Maria’s maximum sustained winds had increased to near 110 miles per hour with higher gusts and rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
“Maria is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane before it moves through the Leeward Islands,” it said.
At 8 a.m., Hurricane Maria was located about 85 miles east of Martinique and 120 miles east southeast of Dominica and moving towards the west northwest at 12 miles per hour.
“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,” the NHC said.
Hurricane conditions are first expected within portions of the Leeward Islands by late today, with tropical storm conditions beginning during the next several hours.
More warnings have been issued: St Lucia is now under a hurricane warning while St Maarten is under a tropical storm warning.
The full list of watches and warnings are as follows:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
- Antigua and Barbuda
Saba and St. Eustatius
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
- Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra
U.S. Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
Saba and St. Eustatius
St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Lesser Antilles.
Hurricane Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the central and southern Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands, through Wednesday night.
It is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches over the remaining northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla, as well as the Windward Islands and Barbados. Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Source: Caribbean 360