At 500 AM AST, the center of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 59.5 West. Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph, and this motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph with higher gusts. Significant strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Mariais expected to become a dangerous major hurricane before it moves through the Leeward Islands.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.
Maria continues to strengthen and could become a category 3 hurricane as it moves over Martinique and Dominica this afternoon into this evening. On the current track squalls will reach the British Virgin Islands on Tuesday afternoon.
A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the British Virgin Islands.