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UPDATE: Maria downgraded to category 3 hurricane

At 2:00 p.m., the center of category 3 Hurricane Maria, was located just offshore of the north-western coast of Puerto Rico near latitude 18.5 North, longitude 66.9 West or 15 miles west Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Maria is moving toward the northwest near 12 miles per hour (mph) and this general motion with a gradual decrease in forward speed is expected through early Friday.

On the forecast track, the centre of Maria will move away from the north-western coast of Puerto Rico this afternoon. 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 south-eastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph with higher gusts.  Maria is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to remain a dangerous major hurricane through Friday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.. The estimated minimum central pressure is 961 millibars.

WIND:  Hurricane conditions are occurring over portions of Puerto Rico, and tropical storm conditions are continuing over the remainder of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

RAINFALL: Maria is expected to produce an additional 5 to 10 inches and isolated 15 inches of rain through Friday.

SURF:  Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

 

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