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September 17, 2017
Hurricane Maria now major category 3 hurricane
September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria intensifying

Posted: Monday, September 18, 2017. 8:38 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports that a Hurricane Hunter aircraft found that hurricane Maria, which is presently a category 2 storm in the Atlantic is intensifying.

According to the NHC, Maria could become a major hurricane later today.

As of this morning, the center of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 59.7 West.

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.

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.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 miles per hour with higher gusts.

The NHC reports that additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane before it moves through the Leeward Islands.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km).

The Government of St. Lucia has issued a hurricane warning.

The Meteorological Service of St. Maarten has also issued a tropical storm warning.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for…

* Guadeloupe

* Dominica

* St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat

* Martinique

* St. Lucia

Tropical Storm warnings are in effect for…

* Antigua and Barbuda

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

Hurricane watches are in effect for…

* Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra

* U.S. Virgin Islands

* British Virgin Islands

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy

* Anguilla

Tropical Storm watches are in effect for…

* Barbados

* St. Vincent and the Grenadines

A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles and the Dominican Republic should monitor the progress of this system.

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