In comparing Irma to Maria, it is noted that Maria’s pressure is now at 909 millibars, which is much lower than Irma was at the time of impact to the BVI. Irma’s pressure during that time was 914mb.
A dropsonde from the Hurricane Hunter Aircraft measured instantaneous winds of 193 miles per hour (mph) at the surface within the southwest eyewall compared to Irma where this measurement was 216 mph.
Sustained wind speeds for Maria is now 175 mph, the strongest sustained winds for Irma was 185 mph.
Forecasters have indicated that St. Croix can receive gusts of up to 200 mph. Maria is a stronger system than Irma was, however, Maria’s winds are currently 10 mph lower. Nonetheless, Maria still has the potential to strengthen further.
The closest point of approach from Road Town, based on the current coordinates is 62.3 miles.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is expected to experience strong sustained tropical storm force winds with gusts of 80 to 90 miles per hour, if it continues on its current track.
Forecasters have also indicated that flash floods and mudslides are a great concern for the BVI with 10 to 15 inches of rain expected and as much as 20 inches in isolated areas such as hillsides.
Dangerous storm surge accompanied by large waves will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal which can cause destruction to coastal areas.