Category 4 Maria Slamming Puerto Rico

UPDATED By Earth Networks Sr. Meteorologist, James West

Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria has made landfall over Puerto Rico this morning. It is currently moving across eastern Puerto Rico. This devastating Category 4 hurricane will continue to carve a path across the commonwealth. Maria’s conditions include heavy rain, extremely strong winds, and deadly storm surge.

As of 9 a.m. EDT (AST), Maria was located near 18.3 N and 66.3 W. The major hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. This makes it a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The storm is 15 miles west-southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is moving northwest at 13 mph. The minimum central pressure is 927 mb or 27.37 inches of mercury.

Warnings & Watches

Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Puerto Rico
  • the U.S. and British Virgin Islands
  • Culebra
  • Vieques
  • The Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
  • The Turks and Caicos
  • The southeastern Bahamas.

Tropical Storm Warning is in place for:

  • The Dominican Republic from Puerto Plata westward to the northern border of Haiti
  • From west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque.Saba,
  • St. Maarten
  • St. Martin
  • St. BarthelemyHurricane Watches have been issued for St. Maarten and Isla Saona to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

Direct Hit

In recent hours, sustained winds of 68 mph were recorded in Fajardo, P.R. San Juan recorded a sustained 64 mph wind. So far, gusts in San Juan have topped 70 mph.

Maria is hitting Puerto Rico directly. 12 to 18 inches of flooding downpours and a 6 to 9 feet of storm surge are likely before the storm clears the island. Mudslides, wind gusts approaching 150 mph, and significant coastal flooding and storm surge will likely cause widespread destruction in Puerto Rico. This is especially true along the island’s southeastern and eastern coastlines. Maria will inflict similar damage in the Virgin Islands.

After hitting Puerto Rico, Maria will bend north and sideswipe the Dominican Republic. Then she will pass the eastern part of the Bahamas on Friday. Hurricane Maria is expected to remain a major hurricane as it churns into the tropical Atlantic.