Posted: Monday, September 18, 2017. 3:31 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is reporting that Maria was just upgraded to a category 4 hurricane.
The NHC reports that Maria is a dangerous hurricane and the eye and intense inner core is expected to pass near Dominica over the next few hours.
As of this afternoon, the eye of Hurricane Maria was located by satellite imagery and data from the French radar on Martinique near latitude 15.1 North, longitude 60.7 West.
Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 miles per hour and this general motion is expected to continue through Wednesday.
On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move near Dominica and the adjacent Leeward Islands during the next few hours, over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea the remainder of tonight and Tuesday, and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Maria carries maximum sustained near 130 miles per hour with higher gusts.
The NHC reports that additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 to 36 hours.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.
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