Eye of Maria Exits Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria made landfall earlier this morning at 6:15 a.m. local time in Puerto Rico, near Yabucoa on the southeast side of the island. The storm was at category 4 strength with 155 mph winds. The National Weather Service in San Juan said that this is the strongest storm for Puerto Rico since the 1920s.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) September 20, 2017
[Last image from Guavate, Puerto Rico radar as the eye of Hurricane Maria was making landfall near Yabucoa]
Puerto Rico has been battered all day with high winds and waves, along with flooding rainfall. The eye of the storm narrowly missed St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands by less than 10 miles. Damage was extensive across both islands.
Esto se jodio!!! pic.twitter.com/x8ML8HoK9Y
— David J Saliceti (@borikuaride) September 20, 2017
[Twitter/David J Saliceti via Storyful]
— Aaliyah Bisamber (@liyahstx) September 20, 2017
[Twitter/Aaliyah Bisamber via Storyful]
Maria has weakened to a category 2 storm now with 110 mph winds with gusts to 135 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center, with tropical-storm-force winds pushing out up to 150 miles and are now beginning to affect the Dominican Republic. The center of the cyclone is located about 25 miles north-northwest of Aguailla, Puerto Rico and 75 miles east of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Hurricane Warnings remain in effect for Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas.
Maria should maintain a northwestward motion for the next couple of days while it remains on the southwestern periphery of a mid-level high over the western Atlantic. After 36 hours, Maria is expected to turn northward between the high and a broad trough extending from Tropical Storm Jose. It may take some time for Maria’s structure to reorganize itself now that it is back over water, bu the storm is expected to become a major hurricane once again as it moves through the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Maria will continue to produce excessive rainfall totals through Friday near 2 feet in Puerto Rico with isolated amounts to 3 feet. 10″ to 20″ may fall across the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and southeast Bahamas. Rainfall on these islands will cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. A 4 to 6 foot storm surge is likely in the Dominican Republic, with 9 to 12 feet possible in the Hurricane Warning areas of the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels