Hurricane Maria is causing indescribable damage in the Caribbean. The Prime Minister of Dominica says 160-mile-an-hour winds caused widespread devastation. Hurricane Maria is on course to hit Puerto Rico today.
At 500 AM AST (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 17.9 North, longitude 65.6 West. Maria is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h). A west-northwest to northwest motion is expected to continue through today, followed by a northwestward motion on Thursday. On the forecast track the eye of Maria will make landfall in Puerto Rico in a couple of hours, cross Puerto Rico today, and pass just north of the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph (250 km/h) with higher gusts. Maria is an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, and it should maintain this intensity until landfall.
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). Fajardo recently reported sustained winds of 79 mph (128 km/h) with a gust to 100 mph (161 km/h).
The minimum central pressure recently reported by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 917 mb (27.08 inches).