Here’s why we need to keep an eye on Hurricane Maria

As of 2 a.m. (0600 GMT Monday), the center of the storm was about 90 miles (145 km) north-northeast of Barbados and about 170 miles (270 km) east-southeast of the Leeward island of Dominica, moving to the west-northwest at about 13 mph (20 kph). A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane watches and warnings were in effect for a string of islands reaching from Dominica to the USA and British Virgin Islands. A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Martinique and Anguilla.

Maria may strike Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

As of 11 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center declared Maria a major hurricane, defined as a storm that’s Category 3 or above.

Tropical Storm Maria is now a hurricane and is forecast to strengthen and brush by some islands that were recently wrecked by Hurricane Irma.

Maria is expected to cross the Leeward Islands tomorrow, the NHC says.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee weakened into a tropical depression far out in the Atlantic while Otis strengthened into a hurricane out in the Pacific.

Over the next several days the Tri-State Area can expect risky rip currents, high surf, and extensive beach erosion.

A “dangerous” storm surge accompanied by “destructive” waves will raise water levels as much as seven feet above normal when Maria crosses the Leewards Island.

The European model keeps the storm off the coast of the Carolinas moving it back out into the Atlantic with little to no effects. Trump also did so for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Luckily, we can breathe a little easier as Hurricane Jose should continue north and pass the Carolinas hundreds of miles from our shoreline late Sunday through Monday.

The New York contingent was set to depart from Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station aboard a military aircraft for St. Thomas, one of several Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma.

“Jose is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches over eastern Long Island, southeast CT, southern Rhode Island, and southeast MA, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, through Wednesday”, the hurricane center said.

In this NASA/NOAA handout image, NOAA’s GOES satellite shows Hurricane Irma, center, in the Caribbean Sea, Tropical Storm Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean and Tropical Storm Katia in the Gulf of Mexico on September 8, 2017.

Credit: GOES EAST, NOAA Currently, hurricane-force winds extend 15 miles (30 km) from the eye of the storm, while tropical storm-force winds extend 125 miles (205 km) from the center, the NHC reported.

Farther north, long-lived Hurricane Jose continued to head northward, well away from the U.S. East Coast but causing unsafe surf and rip currents.

There are higher gusts and rapid strengthening is forecasted.

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