Wednesday 3 June, 2020

UPDATE: Eye of Hurricane Maria moving over Dominica

UPDATE [11:00 p.m.]:

The eye of "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 Hurricane Maria is moving over Dominica, battering the island with winds sustained wind speeds of 160 mph.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit illustrated the intensity of the hurricane in a series of Facebook updates, describing the winds as "merciless" and later saying he had to be rescued from his house which began to flood after the roof blew off.

The US National Hurricane Center said ham radio reports indicate significant damage to structures has occurred in Dominica.

Hurricane conditions are expected to continue over the island for the next few hours.

Maria made landfall in Dominica earlier in the night and at 11:00 p.m., the centre of Hurricane Maria was over the island, near latitude 15.5 North, longitude 61.4 West.

Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through Wednesday.

On the forecast track, the eye of Maria will move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday and approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 160 mph (260 km/h) with higher gusts. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Maria is forecast to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km).

The minimum central pressure estimated from reconnaissance data is 924 mb (27.29 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

WIND: Hurricane conditions should continue over Dominica during the next few hours. Hurricane conditions should spread throughout portions of the hurricane warning area in the Leeward Islands tonight and early Tuesday.

Hurricane conditions should spread through the remainder of the Hurricane Warning area Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hurricane conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area in the Dominican Republic late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by early Wednesday.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area in St. Vincent and the Grenadines through tonight, and are possible in the tropical storm watch area in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains could be much stronger than the near-surface winds indicated in this advisory.

STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning area near where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands - 6 to 9 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the north and east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. 

RAINFALL: Maria is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Thursday:

Central and southern Leeward Islands - 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.
U.S. and British Virgin Islands - 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.
Puerto Rico - 12 to 18 inches, isolated 25 inches.
Northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla - 4 to 8 inches, isolated 10 inches.
Windward Islands and Barbados - 2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches.
Eastern Dominican Republic - 4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches.

Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

SURF: Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Lesser Antilles. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

_______

Hurricane Maria has strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 storm.

According to the US National Hurricane Center, Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft data indicate Hurricane Maria has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane with maximum winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) with higher gusts.

The eye of the potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane and its intense inner core is nearing Dominica.

Video taken around 6:30 p.m. in Roseau, Dominica

Residents in various parts of the island have been reporting heavy rain, high winds and lightning, as well as galvanize blowing around, trees breaking and damage to roofs.

At 8:00 p.m., the eye of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 15.3 North, longitude 61.1 West. This is about 15 miles (25 km) east southeast of Dominica and about 40 miles (70 km) north of Martinique.

Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through Wednesday. 

On the forecast track, the core of Maria will move near Dominica and the adjacent Leeward Islands during the next few hours, over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea the remainder of tonight and Tuesday, and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 160 mph (260 km/h) with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is possible tonight, but some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure based on Air Force Hurricane Hunter data is 925 mb (27.32 inches).

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...

* Guadeloupe

* Dominica

* St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat

* U.S. Virgin Islands

* British Virgin Islands

* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques

 

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

* Antigua and Barbuda

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

* Anguilla

* St. Lucia

* Martinique

 

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...

* Saba and St. Eustatius

* St. Maarten

* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy

* Anguilla

* Isla Saona to Puerto Plata

 

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...

* St. Vincent and the Grenadines

* West of Puerto Plata to the northern Dominican Republic-Haiti border

 

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