Maria Upgraded to Cat 1 Hurricane, Further Strengthening Likely

Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-17 17:42:11-04

Maria has been upgraded to a category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center and further strengthening is likely in the days ahead.

As of the 5pm advisory Sunday, Maria had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and was moving WNW at 15 mph. 

Maria poses a significant threat to the Caribbean, the same areas that were impacted by Hurricane Irma a little over a week ago.

The National Hurricane Center forecast track has Maria moving over the Leeward Islands as a category 2 hurricane by Monday night, then strengthening into a category 3 major hurricane as it reaches Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic late this week. 

The track Maria takes beyond this point is still uncertain and to speculate a U.S impact would be premature. The GFS and European model are currently agreeing that Maria reaches the Bahamas by the weekend, then makes a north turn staying east of Florida. We will continue to watch and have updates in the days ahead.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St. Eustatius and St. Lucia. A Hurricane Watch has also been issued for the U.S and British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy and Anguilla. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.