Maria takes aim at Dominica and other Caribbean islands battered by hurricane Irma
By Wire Staff
September 17, 2017 4:04 P.M
Roseau, Dominica (TDN)
- Tropical storm Maria was making its way through the Atlantic today Sunday and is expected to become a hurricane before affecting Dominica and other islands of the Eastern Caribbean.
Forecasters on Sunday afternoon were predicting that the eye of hurricane Maria could make direct landfall on either Dominica, Guadeloupe or Antigua, before setting its sights on countries already battered by hurricane Irma such as French and Dutch St Maarten, the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands.
At 2:00 PM on Sunday the center of tropical storm Maria with sustained winds of 65 miles an hour was located at 13.5 degrees North Latitude and 56.9 degrees west latitude. This was just about 350 miles east south east of Dominica. Maria was heading in a north west northerly direction at 15 miles per hour.
Prevailing conditions make for a further strengthening of Maria with it possibly becoming a hurricane by Sunday night, and when it crosses the islands of the Lesser Antilles on Monday night into Tuesday morning it is expected to be at category 2 or 3.
Forecasters pointed to the low wind shear, warm ocean and moist mid tropospheric air mass as reasons for the predicted strengthening.
Maria was also expected to slow down in its forward movement appreciably on Sunday into Monday, which will ultimately determine the exact island it passes over. This may translate to a direct hit on Guadeloupe or Antigua, sparing Dominica.
Maria showed signs of intensifying.
Meanwhile, hurricane warnings have been issued for Dominica and Guadeloupe with hurricane watches extending to Antigua, St Maarten, and Anguilla.