Position and projected path of Maria. Graphic by WeatherUnderground

Tropical Storm Maria continues to speed across the Tropical Atlantic with little change in strength.

At 5 am the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located near latitude 13.5 north…longitude 48.2 west about 940 miles east southeast of the Leeward Islands.

Maria is moving toward the west near 23 mph and this general motion is expected to continue today, followed by a gradual turn toward the west-northwest and a decrease in forward speed on Friday.

On the forecast track the center of Maria is expected to approach the islands by Friday into Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center. Tropical storm watches has been issued for The Leeward Islands; Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Deterioration in weather conditions is expected by Friday as feeder bands from Maria are expected to begin spreading across the island. Sea swells will be a major concern and are expected to peakĀ  up to 4.0 metres by Friday into Saturday across the island.