Maria forecast to become a major hurricane
AT 11 p.m. THE centre of Hurricane Maria was located near 14.2°N, 58.4°W or about 100 miles or (165 km) north-east of Barbados. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts. Further strengthening is forecast over the next 48 hours.
The system is moving west-northwestward near 13mph (20km/h), and this motion with a further reduction in forward speed is expected over the next day or so. On this present track, the centre is expected to pass approximately 100 miles to the north of Barbados early tomorrow. Minimum central pressure was 979mb or 28.91 inches.
Feeder bands have been generating periods of rain, pockets of moderate to heavy showers and thunderstorms, across the island.
A flood-warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. tomorrow, Monday, September 18. Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches (75 to 125 mm) are likely. Thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.
Sustained wind-speeds of 29 to 35 mph (46 to 56 km/h) with gusts to storm force can also be expected across Barbados from tonight and these conditions are expected to persist into tomorrow.
In addition, large easterly swells of at least 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) are also forecast to accompany the system.
Hence, a High-Surf Advisory and Small-Craft Warning remain in effect until 12 noon Tuesday, September 19. (PR)