Maria strengthens to hurricane; threatens Leeward Islands

(WBTW) – Hurricane Maria is likely undergoing rapid intensification Monday night. As of the 11 pm advisory, winds are up to 85 mph and additional strengthening is very likely.  The center of the storm is located 100 miles NE of Barbados and persons with interests in the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico should monitor the progress of this storm closely. Hurricane Watches and Warnings have already been issued for many of the islands. Maria is forecast to strengthen to a major Category 4 hurricane by Wednesday.

Models are in good consensus on Maria’s track through Thursday. After that, the Southeast United States will need to monitor the progress of the storm. For now, Maria will begin to generate swells that will reach the coastline of the Grand Strand by Wednesday. This will keep the rip current threat high through the weekend.