At 5pm, Tropical Storm Maria intensified to a hurricane near latitude 13.8 degrees north and longitude 57.5 degrees west or about 275 miles east-southeast of Dominica. Hurricane Maria is moving west-northwest at 15mph. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75mph making Maria a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for Dominica. A Hurricane Warning means that 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.
Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Maria could be near major hurricane intensity when it moves across the Leeward Islands Monday night. On the forecast track, the center of Maria should pass just north of Dominica during the overnight of Monday into early Tuesday. All preparedness activities should be rushed to completion.
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 and hurricane force 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 is possible.
- Winds gusting to hurricane force are possible from Monday into Tuesday. Be mindful of flying debrie and be cautious if outdoor activities cannot be avoided
Swells generated by Maria 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.