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11 a.m. Update: Flood warning extended as Maria intensifies

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

11 a.m. Update: Flood warning extended as Maria intensifies

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Hurricane Maria has rapidly intensified into a major hurricane and weather officials say moderate to heavy showers and periods of light to moderate rain are expected to persist across Barbados throughout the day.

The flood warning has therefore been extended until 6 p.m. today.

Additional rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches (75 to 125mm) are likely.

Thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.

At 11 a.m. the centre of Hurricane Maria was located near 14.7°N, 60.1°W or about 117 miles or 188km north-northwest of Barbados.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts and significant strengthening is forecast during the next forty-eight hours.

The system is moving west-northwestward near 10mph (17km/h), and this motion with a reduction in forward speed is expected through Tuesday.

On this present track, the system is currently passing to the north of Barbados.

Minimum central pressure was 959mb or 28.32 inches.

Over the past twenty-four hours, rainfall accumulations across Barbados ranged between four to six inches (100 to 250mm), as outer feeder-bands continue to move across the island.

Sustained wind-speeds of 29 to 35mph (46 to 56km/h) with gusts to storm force can also be expected across Barbados today and these conditions will persist into tonight.

In addition, large southeasterly swells of at least 4 to 6m (13 to 20 ft) are also forecast to accompany the system. Hence, a high-surf advisory and small-craft warning remain in effect until noon on Tuesday. (NB)