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MARIA FORECAST TO BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE AS IT MOVES NEAR THE LEEWARD ISLANDS…

MARIA FORECAST TO BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE AS IT MOVES NEAR THE LEEWARD ISLANDS…

September 18, 20171950Views

At 1100pm the National Hurricane Center indicated that Hurricane Maria is more intense that forecast 6 hours ago at the last update.

Based upon the latest observation and analysis Maria is expected to impact the British Virgin Islands as a Category 2 on Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday. Flooding from heavy rain is possible. Maria is expected to turn into a Category 4 when it impacts Puerto Rico then re-intensify in or north of the Bahamas.

According to the National Hurricane Centre, the center of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 14.2 North, longitude 58.4 West. Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph (20 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 Monday and Monday night and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to 85 mph gusting to 105mph Rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a major hurricane as it moves through the Leeward Islands. Hurricane Maria is located 200 miles East South East of Dominica moving West North West and has slowed down to 13 mph.

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 estimated minimum central pressure is 979 mb (28.91 inches).

Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the British Virgin Islands, through Wednesday night. These rainfall amounts could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Gusty winds could blow debris from Hurricane Maria around, creating dangerous conditions. Therefore residents are encouraged to remove all debris by securing loose items in and around their homes to avoid those items becoming projectiles during high winds and to clear drains.

Additionally, persons in low lying areas, areas near ghuts and those in high elevations should are encouraged to find a safer location during the passage of the hurricane.

All residents of the BVI are urged to monitor the movement of Maria closely and take action to protect life and property.

Please continue to monitor local media stations, DDM’s website (bviddm.com) and Facebook at BVIDDM for regular updates.

Disclaimer: The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is not an official Meteorological Office. The Information disseminated by the Department is gathered from a number of professional sources used or contracted by the DDM to provide such information. This information is to be used as a guide by anyone who has interest in local weather conditions. By no means can the DDM or the BVI Government be held accountable by anyone who uses this information appropriately for legal evidence or in justification of any decision which may result in the loss of finances, property or life.