2 p.m. Update: Storm watch lifted; flood warning, high surf advisory remain
The Government of Barbados has discontinued the Tropical Storm Watch for the island as of 2 p.m.
However, the flood warning will remain in effect until 6 p.m. today and
The high surf advisory and small craft warning will remain in effect until noon on Tuesday.
At 2 p.m. the eye of Hurricane Maria was located by the French radar on Martinique near latitude 14.9 North, longitude 60.4 West.
Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said on the forecast track, the centre of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands late today and tonight, over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night, and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 125 mph (200 km/h) with higher gusts.
Maria is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane as it moves through the Leeward Islands and the northeastern Caribbean Sea.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km).
The minimum central pressure estimated from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft data is 956 mb (28.23 inches).
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique, St Lucia, the US Virgin Island and the British Virgin Islands.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St Eustatius, St Maarten and Anguilla.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, Saba and St Eustatius, St Maarten, St Martin and St Barthelemy and Anguilla.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the central and southern Leeward Islands, and the US and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night.
Rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches are expected across Puerto Rico.
Maria is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches over the remaining northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla, eastern portions of the Dominican Republic, as well as the Windward Islands and Barbados.
Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. (NB)