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Extremely Dangerous Hurricane Maria Heads Toward U. S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico After Causing

As of 5 AM EST, Hurricane Maria was just a notch below Category 5 status as some slight weakening occurred when the small intense core passed directly over the mountainous island of Dominica. However, as of 5:10 AM, the National Hurricane Center just upgraded it to a Category 5 hurricane again with 160 mph sustained winds. Initial reports out of Dominica are of widespread devastation with roofs being blown off most houses. The storm will hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tomorrow most likely as a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph sustained winds with gusts over 180 mph.

The future path of Hurricane Maria will be influenced by the path of Hurricane Jose, and it now appears likely that Jose will linger around for many days and do a loop and gradually weaken. If this occurs, then Hurricane Maria will most likely be drawn northward and stay offshore from the east coast of the United States. The area that is at the most risk would be Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Hurricane Jose will bring rain and some gusty winds to Long Island today, especially eastern Suffolk. However, the storm will be well offshore, so the impacts will be fairly minimal, although there will be some minor coastal flooding and of course rough seas.

The following image from the Euro model shows the expected wind gusts from Hurricane Maria, and it's showing some peak wind gusts in excess of 170 mph are possible in northeast Puerto Rico:

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