SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Wednesday September 20, 2017 – Hurricane Maria’s destructive 140 mile per hour winds and heavy rains were battering parts of Puerto Rico this morning.
The centre of the Category 4 hurricane was approaching the northern coast of Puerto Rico when the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami issued its 11 a.m. bulletin.
“Maria’s core is moving over Puerto Rico, with life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall impacts continuing over the island,” it said.
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The US Virgin Islands was also feeling the effects of the hurricane, and the NHC warned that several tornadoes are possible over both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today.
Maria, located about 15 miles east southeast of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and about 25 miles west of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was moving towards the northwest near 12 miles per hour.
“On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move offshore of the northern coast of Puerto Rico during the next couple of hours. The center will then pass offshore of the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday and then move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday,” the NHC said.
“Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to remain a dangerous hurricane through Friday.”
A hurricane warning is in effect for the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas, where Maria is expected to bring dangerous wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque.
And a hurricane watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic, from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano.
While hurricane and tropical storm conditions are occurring over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in the warning areas in the Dominican Republic this afternoon, with hurricane conditions starting in the hurricane warning area tonight.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas Thursday morning, with hurricane conditions starting Thursday evening.