Maria is now a hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. A Hurricane Watch has been upgraded to a Hurricane Warning for Dominica as of 11:00 am.

Dominica remains under Hurricane Warning as of 11:00 am.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours.

A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

At 5:00 pm, was located 13.8°N 57.5°W and moving WNW at 15 mph. Maximum sustained wind is 75 mph.

. On the forecast track, the center of Maria should pass just north of Dominica during the overnight of Monday into early Tuesday as a hurricane. All preparedness activities should be rushed to completion during today.

A deterioration in weather conditions is expected across Dominica by later tonight into early Monday with moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorm and gusty winds up to tropical storm force and higher and rough to dangerous seas. The activity is expected to continue into Tuesday.

Expected rainfall amount for Dominica is between 8 to 10 inches (200 to 250mm) with higher amounts in elevated areas.

· Persons in areas prone to flooding, landslides and falling rocks are advised to be extremely vigilant and to exercise extreme caution as life threatening flash flooding and winds gusting to tropical storm force or higher are possible from Monday into Tuesday.

Swells generated by Maria are expected to begin affecting the Lesser Antilles by tonight. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions and coastal flooding.

A Small-Craft Warning and a High-Surf Advisory are in effect for dangerous seas and high winds.

A small-craft Warning means in this case that surface winds greater than 25knots and seas equal to or greater than 3m (10ft) are already affecting or expected to affect the marine area.

A High-Surf Advisory is issued when breaking wave action poses or is expected to pose a threat to life and property within the surf zone.

· Mariners and other users of the sea should remain extremely cautious and make all necessary preparation to protect life and property and do not venture out of port. Sea bathers stay out of the water.

The Meteorological Service will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.