Tropical Depression Fifteen has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Maria.
At 5:00 P.M., the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located near latitude 12.3 degrees North, longitude 52.6 degrees West.
Maria is moving toward the west near 20 miles per hour (mph). A slower west-northwest motion is expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, Maria is expected to approach the Leeward Islands on Monday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours, and Maria is forecast to be a hurricane when it approaches the Leeward Islands early next week.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1002 millibars.
Based upon the latest position and forecast track, Tropical Storm Maria could pass dangerously close to the British Virgin Islands on Tuesday as a hurricane.
Storm or hurricane conditions are possible within portions of the Leeward Islands by Monday night or Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible on Monday.
In the British Virgin Islands, gusty winds could blow debris from Irma around, creating dangerous conditions.
Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches will be possible for portions of the northern Leeward Islands through Tuesday night. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
All residents in the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands should continue to closely monitor the progress Tropical Storm Maria.
The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is also monitoring the progress of Tropical Storm Lee located near latitude 12.6 degrees North, longitude 34.2 degrees West and with maximum sustained winds of near 40 miles per hour. Lee is moving toward the west near 10 miles per hour and this motion is expected to continue through Sunday.
Tropical Storm Lee is currently not a threat to the BVI.
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.