Maria Upgraded to Cat 5 8:00 PM 9/18

Per NOAA, Maria is now a potentially catastrophic Cat 5 hurricane with max sustained winds of 160 MPH. As of 8:00 PM. she was 15 miles E of Dominica, moving at 9MPH.

As of 9:35 PM, per NOAA:

…MARIA MAKES LANDFALL ON DOMINICA AS A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE…

Radar data from Martinique and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter
aircraft reports indicate that Maria made landfall on Dominica
around 915 PM AST (0115 UTC) with estimated winds of 160 MPH
(260 KM/H).

At this point, we can only wait and see the effect on Dominica and the surrounding islands. It looks very likely that Maria will continue to strengthen over the next 24 hours. Puerto Rico is very likely to get a direct hit from an even more powerful hurricane than the Leeward Islands will get tonight.

I still expect to see a northward turn that will keep her far away from the mainland US, but Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Leeward Islands are in for some real catastrophic impact over the next 24-48 hours.

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