Saturday 17 November, 2018

Maria to become dangerous major hurricane by late Monday

Hurricane Maria is expected to become a major hurricane when it moves across the Leeward Islands later today.

An advisory from the Meteorological Service (Met Office) noted that additional strengthening is expected over the course of the next 48 hours, with heavy rainfall expected across the Windward Islands.

Hurricane Maria, as of 5 am, was located at approximately 215 km east-southeast (ESE) of Dominica or 160 km east (E) of Martinique.

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.

The centre of the hurricane will move across the Leeward Islands late today and tonight, and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. 

The National Hurricane Centre said Maria is currently a Category 2 hurricane, and with additional rapid strengthening forecast during the next 48 hours, Maria is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane before it moves through the Leeward Islands.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat and Martinique. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra, the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy and Anguilla.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St. Eustatius and St. Lucia.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  
The Met Office said the progress of this system is being closely monitored.

Those with interests in the Lesser Antilles are advised to pay close attention to information being issued by the Met Office.
The Met Office stressed that the country is not under any tropical cyclone threat, watch or warning.

Another bulletin will be issued at 6pm today, or sooner, if the situation warrants.