As of 5:00 PM, Maria was officially a hurricane.
According to NOAA, the 8:00 PM update is:
ABOUT 125 MI…200 KM ENE OF BARBADOS
ABOUT 255 MI…410 KM ESE OF DOMINICA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…80 MPH…130 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 285 DEGREES AT 15 MPH…24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…982 MB…29.00 INCHES
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from
the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105
miles (165 km).
Unfortunately, Maria looks to be heading right for Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. That’s very bad for these two islands, though I expect the eye to just skim a cape in DR. Looks like she will be a cat 2 by Monday afternoon and Puerto Rico won’t slow her down much, as she is predicted to be a cat 3 on Thursday.
Right now, I believe that Florida will, thankfully and selfishly, be safe. The Euro Model (by far the most accurate — i hope to get a post up about that in the near future) puts Maria into the Carolinas. Three spaghetti models put her into Florida, one all the way into the Gulf, but I usually watch Euro and NHC tracks the most closely.
Like Irma, we will be watching for that Great Northern Bean Soup, err, great northern turn that will swing her into the Atlantic, likely too late to avoid a clash with the US coast.