Tropical Storm Maria Takes Aim at Caribbean Islands

Sep 19, 2017, 00:10
Tropical Storm Maria Takes Aim at Caribbean Islands

A tropical storm has formed in the Atlantic and is expected to strengthen, prompting hurricane watches for some of the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma.

At 8 a.m. Sunday, Maria was located about 410 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles and is moving west-northwest at 15 mph.

Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a hurricane later today, according to the National Hurricane Centre. But Jose turned to the north and spun a loop in the Atlantic, weakening to tropical storm status before picking up strength again and heading toward the East Coast.

Over the next four days, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda are all in the line of fire of Maria, which is forecast to become a category three hurricane by Tuesday evening. Tropical storm watches are posted for St. Lucia, Martinique, Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 60 miles and tropical-storm-force winds are outward to 205 miles. Lee is not expected to impact Florida.

While it's not yet clear if Hurricane Jose will make landfall in the United States, it's still expected to cause flooding and bring torrential rain to the East Coast.

A hurricane watch was issued earlier Monday for Puerto Rico as Maria bears down on the Caribbean.

Further updates will continue to be available at wtoc.com, in the WTOC weather App and on TV.

Rip currents are likely, and the Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City forecasts surf of 6 to 9 feet south of Rodanthe and 5 to 7 feet elsewhere.

Forecasters are warning it will probably be a major storm by the time it passes through the Leewards late on Monday (local time). The storm's track will directly affect conditions on Long Island - impacts will be greater if the storm tracks more westward before it heads out to sea.

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