Well it is official, the tropical storm called Maria that formed over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, definitely turned into a hurricane according to the latest info, and to make things even worse is the news that in next couple of days it is expected to grow even stronger.
This storm was spotted at 5 p.m. on Sunday, and its center was located somewhere on latitude 13.8 North and longitude 57.5 West. It is now continuing to move at around 15 MPH toward the west-northwest, and it is thankfully going to slow down as it moves down that line. The maximum wind speed is expected to reach 75 MPH with higher gusts, and its maximum is expected somewhere in the next 48 hours. If it reaches its peak strength in that period, Maria could be very close to the major hurricane intensity by the time it hits the Leeward Islands Monday night. Due to that be very well prepared and expect tropical-storm-force winds which will extend outward up to 105 miles from the center.
Besides the Leeward Islands on Monday night, hurricane Maria will also reach Puerto Rico by Wednesday, and after that, the forecast models somehow disagree on what will happen next. According to meteorologist Von Gaskin and the long-range forecast for Hurricane Maria, we have a statement saying “You cannot look at long range models as a forecast. Early this morning the European model was showing a direct hit and landfall on the North Carolina South Carolina border on September 26th. Now just a few hours later it shows that same system lifting well north of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That is the reason we have to look at the trends of long-range models.”
The further complication of things lies in a fact that it is expected that Maria will join Hurricane Jose, which is projected to continue moving north and then northeast away from the U.S. and Tropical Storm Lee, which is forecast to lose some steam over the next five days. For now, everything is OK and just as always, The First Alert Weather Team will be tracking everything around the tropics for everyone as Maria gets closer to the U.S.