On Monday, Hurricane Maria strengthened into a Category 3 storm, packing maximum sustained winds of up to 120 mph. The storm is expected to cross over the Leeward Islands, the eastern Caribbean islands recently ravaged by Hurricane Irma, before moving over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
The 11am update shows Maria rapidly intensifying to a major cat 3 hurricane with further strengthening forecast. pic.twitter.com/jt4QH0yRhK
— WFXR Weather (@WFXRWeather) September 18, 2017
Hurricane warnings are now posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, as well as the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and Martinique, many of which were hit by Irma. The National Hurricane Center says "additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours," with winds potentially reaching 140 mph.
Puerto Rico is already bracing itself for another potentially devastating storm. "We have an extremely weak infrastructure that has already been hit by one storm," Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday. "This is going to be a catastrophic event."
It's not yet clear whether Maria poses a threat to Florida, though it remains a possibility. Becca Stanek