Hurricane Maria Weakens Before Landfall in Puerto Rico
As of 5 AM EST, Hurricane Maria has weakened to 155 mph and is about to make landfall on the northeast part of Puerto Rico. That is still an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, but the actual wind speeds might be a little lower than that. Overnight, the eye of Maria passed just to the southwest of St. Croix, which might have spared the island from the most extreme winds of Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico will still experience extreme amounts of rain, storm surge, and flooding, but perhaps the slight weakening will spare most of Puerto Rico from experiencing extreme winds of greater than 140 mph.
Regarding the future track of Hurricane Maria, the GFS and the Euro yesterday both trended the storm closer to the North Carolina coastline as well as closer to the New Jersey coast and Long Island. The overnight Euro backed off on that as the critical placement of the weakening Tropical Storm Jose was shifted farther to the east. However, the overall trend of the ensembles has been closer to the coast. The other factor will be the timing of a trough that will be approaching the east coast next week, which at the last minute could steer the storm farther offshore.
The following image from the overnight GFS run shows Hurricane Maria coming fairly close to New Jersey and Long Island:
Image from tropicaltidbits.com
The following image shows the Euro ensembles from the overnight run: