POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC HURRICANE MARIA EXPECTED TO PASS NEAR
THE U. S. VIRGIN ISLANDS TONIGHT AND OVER PUERTO RICO ON
…PREPARATIONS AGAINST LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE AND RAINFALL
FLOODING AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION…
SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST…2100 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 80 MI…130 KM SE OF ST. CROIX
ABOUT 175 MI…285 KM SE OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…165 MPH…270 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 300 DEGREES AT 10 MPH…17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…916 MB…27.05 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
The Meteorological Service of the Bahamas has issued a Hurricane
Watch for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas.
The Meteorological Service of Antigua has discontinued the Tropical
Storm Warning for Antigua and Barbuda.
The Meteorological Service of Barbados has discontinued the
Hurricane Warning for Dominica.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques
* Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Maarten
* West of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican
Republic and Haiti
* West of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
* Isla Saona to Cabo Engano
* Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and
property should be rushed to completion.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible
within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before
the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds,
conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola and the Bahamas should monitor the
progress of Maria. Additional watches and warnings may be required
tonight or Wednesday.
For storm information specific to your area in the United
States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please
monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service
forecast office. For storm information specific to your area outside
the United States, please monitor products issued by your national
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Maria was located
near latitude 16.8 North, longitude 64.0 West. Maria is moving
toward the west-northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this general
motion is expected to continue through Wednesday night. On the
forecast track, the eye of Maria will move near or over the U. S.
Virgin Islands tonight, cross Puerto Rico on Wednesday, and then
pass just north of the coast of the Dominican Republic Wednesday
night and Thursday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft
indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 165 mph (270 km/h)
with higher gusts. Maria is a potentially catastrophic category 5
hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some
fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or so, but
Maria is forecast to remain an extremely dangerous category 4 or 5
hurricane as it moves near or over the Virgin Islands and Puerto
Rico. Slow weakening is expected after the hurricane emerges over
the Atlantic north of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the
center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles
The latest minimum central pressure reported by the Hurricane
Hunter aircraft is 916 mb (27.05 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Hurricane conditions will continue in portions of the
hurricane warning area in the Leeward Islands this evening, and
spread into the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight and
Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are occuring over the
remainder of the Leeward Islands, and are spreading over the Virgin
Islands at this time. Tropical storm conditions should spread over
Puerto Rico during the next several hours. Hurricane conditions are
expected within the hurricane warning area in the Dominican Republic
late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions expected by early
Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical
storm warning areas in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
Hurricane conditions are possible on Thursday in the Turks and
Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.
Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains
and on high-rise buildings could be much stronger than the near-
surface winds indicated in this advisory.
STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and
destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11
feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning area near
where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands and the
British Virgin Islands.
A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves
will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet above normal tide
levels in the hurricane warning area in the Dominican Republic, and
1 to 3 ft elsewhere along the northern coasts of the Dominican
Republic and Haiti.
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause
normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters
moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach
the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the
time of high tide…
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands…6 to 9 ft
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to
the north and east of the landfall location, where the surge will be
accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related
flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal
cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information
specific to your area, please see products issued by your local
National Weather Service forecast office.
RAINFALL: Maria is expected to produce the following rain
accumulations through Thursday:
Central and southern Leeward Islands…10 to 15 inches, isolated 20
U.S. and British Virgin Islands…10 to 15 inches, isolated 20
Puerto Rico…12 to 18 inches, isolated 25 inches.
Northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla…4 to 8 inches,
isolated 10 inches.
Windward Islands and Barbados…2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches.
Eastern Dominican Republic…4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches.
Rainfall on all of these islands will cause life-threatening flash
floods and mudslides.
TORNADOES: Several tornadoes are possible over Puerto Rico and the
- S. Virgin Islands tonight and Wednesday.
SURF: Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Leeward Islands,
Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These swells are likely to
cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please
consult products from your local weather office.