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Hurricane Maria’s dangerous core gradually moving away from Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria is now a Category 2 storm. (WPEC)

8pm advisory: Hurricane Maria’s dangerous core gradually moving away from Puerto Rico with 110 mph winds.



Hurricane Maria lost intensity Wednesday afternoon as it moves away from Puerto Rico. The storm dropped to a category 2 storm with 115 mph winds after slamming Puerto Rico, according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane brought destructive winds and flooding over portions of Puerto Rico where it made landfall as a category 4 hurricane at 6:20 a.m. near Yabucoa. The entire island lost power, the Puerto Rico's Office of Emergency Management said.

Maria, with its maximum sustained winds of 155 mph early Wednesday, became the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1928 when a category 5 storm hit the area. The last category 4 hurricane to hit the island was in 1932.


NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER BULLETIN

CATASTROPHIC FLASH FLOODING OCCURRING OVER PORTIONS OF PUERTO

RICO...

...CONDITIONS NOW DETERIORATING OVER EASTERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

-------------------------

LOCATION...18.8N 67.3W

ABOUT 25 MI...45 KM NNW OF AGUADILLA PUERTO RICO

ABOUT 75 MI...120 KM E OF PUNTA CANA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 305 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...957 MB...28.26 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

--------------------

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

The Hurricane Warning for the U.S. Virgin Islands has been

discontinued.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has discontinued the

Hurricane Warning for the British Virgin Islands.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...

* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques

* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata

* Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

* Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of

the Dominican Republic and Haiti

* Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...

* Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected

somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and

property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible

within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before

the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds,

conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola and the Bahamas should monitor the

progress of Maria.

For storm information specific to your area in the United States,

including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor

products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast

office. For storm information specific to your area outside

the United States, please monitor products issued by your national

meteorological service.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

------------------------------

At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Maria was located

near latitude 18.8 North, longitude 67.3 West. Maria is moving

toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this general motion

with a decrease in forward speed is expected through Thursday night.

A turn toward the north-northwest is forecast on Friday. On the

forecast track, the center of Maria will continue to move away from

the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico this evening. The center will

then pass offshore of the northeastern coast of the Dominican

Republic tonight and Thursday and then move near the Turks and

Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.

Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate

that maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher

gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next day or two,

and Maria could regain major hurricane status by Thursday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the

center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150

miles (240 km).

The minimum central pressure based on data from the Air Force

aircraft is 957 mb (28.26 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

----------------------

WIND: Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are still occurring

over portions of Puerto Rico. Tropical storm conditions are

spreading across the warning areas in the Dominican Republic, and

hurricane conditions should start in the hurricane warning area

tonight. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in the

Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday,

with hurricane conditions starting Thursday night.

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the

tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by

rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is

expected to reach the following heights above ground if the peak

surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Puerto Rico...3 to 5 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of

onshore wind over western portions of Puerto Rico, where the surge

will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related

flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal

cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information

specific to your area, please see products issued by your local

National Weather Service forecast office.

A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves

will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet above normal tide

levels in the hurricane warning area in the Dominican Republic, and

1 to 3 ft elsewhere along the northern coasts of the Dominican

Republic and Haiti.

A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves

will raise water levels by as much as 9 to 12 feet above normal

tide levels within the hurricane warning area of the southeastern

Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

RAINFALL: Maria is expected to produce the following rainfall

totals through Friday:

Puerto Rico...20 to 25 inches, isolated 35 inches

U.S. and British Virgin Islands...additional 3 to 5 inches

Northern and eastern Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and

southeast Bahamas...8 to 16 inches, isolated 20 inches

Northern Haiti...2 to 4 inches

Rainfall on these islands will cause life-threatening flash floods

and mudslides

SURF: Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Leeward Islands,

Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These swells will begin

affecting the northern coast of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos

Islands, and the Southeastern Bahamas during the next day or two.

These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip

current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather

office.

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