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article imagePuerto Rico to take brunt of worst hurricane since 1928

By Karen Graham     Sep 20, 2017 in Environment
San Juan - The window of time for getting to a government shelter is closing fast as Hurricane Maria, a powerful and deadly Category 5 storm bears down on Puerto Rico. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said conditions for the U.S. territory were deteriorating rapidly.
The National Hurricane Center's (NHC) 11:00 p.m. advisory puts Hurricane Maria about 30 miles (45 kilometers) south-southeast of St. Croix and 120 miles (190 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (80 kph)). Maria is moving to the west-northwest at 10 mph (17 kph) and has a minimum central pressure of 909 MB or 26.85 inches.
The category 5 storm will smash the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight and make landfall in Puerto Rico Wednesday morning, bringing a potentially catastrophic combination of storm-surge flooding, destructive winds, and flooding rain. "Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months," according to the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Weather Channel
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques as well as the Dominican Republic, from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata.
This will be a very big storm. Reports from reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the area of hurricane-force winds has increased in size. Hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 kilometers).
Parts of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands can expect an additional eight to 12 inches of rainfall with isolated instances of 16 inches. Puerto Rico can expect 12 to 18 inches and five or more inches in isolated areas. The Eastern part of the Dominican Republic may get 4 to 8 inches with maybe some areas getting 10 inches of rainfall.
Some parts of the Dominican Republic, particularly near the north coast, may see hurricane-force winds develop as soon as Wednesday evening and continuing into Thursday.
The Weather Channel
President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency in both territories, and the Coast Guard has moved all its ships, aircraft and personnel out of harm's way so they can quickly launch rescue missions once the storm passes, officials said.
Maria has already obliterated parts of Dominica and killed at least one person in Guadeloupe. "Dominica had very little time to prepare for this monster," said NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins, who said Maria was one of the fastest-growing hurricanes ever recorded. "I fear what we will see during the daylight hours from Dominica and Guadeloupe. They had little time to prepare for the strongest storm of their lifetimes."
It's still too early to determine at this time whether Maria will directly impact the East Coast of the U.S. next week. Steering currents will have a lot to do with whether or not Maria becomes a threat to the East Coast. And another factor will be if Maria interacts with the higher terrain of Puerto Rico and Hispañola. This could also affect Maria's future track and intensity.
More about hurricane Maria, Puerto rico, category 5, 175 mph winds, Catastrophic
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