Tropical Storm Maria Is Now Likely To Become A Major Hurricane

Damage on the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. Photo: AP

Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean earlier this month, killing at least 38 people in the region and destroying thousands of buildings. Unfortunately, 2017's relentless hurricane season is not letting up, and it looks as though Tropical Storm Maria is likely to become a hurricane before it hits the already-ravaged area this week.

After forming on Saturday in the western Atlantic, Maria is expected to build to a hurricane by Monday and a major hurricane by Wednesday, per CNN. It is currently 460 miles southeast of the Lesser Antilles.

“Maria is expected to strengthen and affect portions of the Leeward Islands as a hurricane early this week, bringing dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards,” the National Hurricane Center’s Atlantic Operations department wrote in a release. “Hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been issued for portions of the Leeward Islands, and these warnings will likely be extended northward and westward later today and tonight.”

“Maria could also affect the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid week as a dangerous major hurricane, and hurricane waters could be issued for these islands as early tonight,” the NHC continued. The Virgin Islands were ravaged by Irma; after the storm passed, eerie satellite photos showed the islands almost entirely stripped of greenery.

Advertisement

In a separate advisory, the NHC wrote “Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a hurricane later today or tonight ... Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center.”

The NHC’s projection of Maria’s probable path currently looks much like Irma, although the storm could still veer away.

Image: National Hurricane Center

Hopefully, the Caribbean will avoid a repeat of one of the worst storms in recent memory.

Advertisement

Further north, the National Weather Service’s Miami office said it was far too early to predict any outcome in Florida, where Irma did massive damage to the Florida Keys and Everglades.

Scientists predict that human-induced global climate change will make extreme weather events like hurricanes both more severe and more common. Warmer ocean temperatures help fuel storm systems, while the estimated 3.4 inches (86 millimeters) of sea level rise since 1993 are already resulting in higher and thus more devastating storm surges which are capable of wiping out coastal structures and flooding entire neighborhoods.

Update 9/18/17: Hurricane Maria is now expected to strike Puerto Rico as a strong Category 4 storm. Shit.

[National Hurricane Center]

Source : https://gizmodo.com/tropical-storm-maria-is-now-likely-to-become-a-major-hu-1818490924

Tropical Storm Maria Is Now Likely to Become a Major Hurricane
Tropical Storm Maria Could Be A Hurricane Before End of the Day and a Major Hurricane Soon After
Maria due to cross Leeward Islands Monday
Hurricane Maria forecast to become Category 4 storm
Hurricane Maria: ‘Significant’ strengthening likely as storm nears land
Maria now a hurricane, Jose not going away
Tropical Storm Jose is bringing dangerous surf, rip currents, and wind to the East Coast
Tropical Storm Maria looks to follow Irma's path; 2 other tropical systems bear watching
Hurricane Maria, now a Category 5 storm, is a severe threat to the Caribbean, Puerto Rico
Tropical Storm Maria Is Officially a Hurricane [Updated]