Tropical Storm Maria Is Latest Threat to Caribbean Islands


A depression in the Atlantic Ocean has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Maria. It could still bring bad weather to the Mid-Atlantic states or New England next week. Regardless, the likelihood of impacts such as strong winds and at least minor storm surge is heightened.

Maximum sustained winds increased to near 40 mph with higher gusts, but little change in strength is expected over the next 48 hours. On Saturday evening, after Maria got its name, a hurricane watch was issued for Barbuda, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, it was 620 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.

Masters said the storm's path could be influenced by Hurricane Jose, now hundreds of miles east of Florida and moving toward the coast of New England.

While Hurricane Jose churns off the southeast coast increasing the rip current risk at Lowcountry beaches, one tropical storm has formed and a second is hours away from forming, forecasters say.

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Saturday's Maria forecast shows that the storm is expected to reach major hurricane strength by Wednesday with winds around 120 miles per hour. It said the swells are likely to cause risky surf and life-threatening rip currents for several days in these areas.

Meanwhile in the Atlantic, Jose threatens to impact the Northeast part of the the next few days, and Lee developed into a tropical storm. It is moving west at 20 miles per hour. If Jose weakens the high pressure ridge steering the storm, it could allow Maria to head more to the northwest or north-northwest, he said.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was essentially stationary in the morning but was expected to resume motion toward the north and approach waters west of the peninsula late Sunday or early Monday.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a hurricane in the days ahead, and it is possible some places could take a second direct hit over the coming week.