Updated: Shelters Open, Maria Now a Dangerous Category 5 Storm

The hurricane shelters around Montserrat are now open. Sirens across the island sounded at 6PM indicating residents could now proceed to the facilities identified as safe for the passing of Hurricane Maria later tonight.

According to disaster management officials, those in need of a ride can call the DMCA at 491-7166 or 491-3064.

No pets are allowed in the shelter. Each person should bring with them non-perishable food items enough for 48 hours and enough water for each family member. No smoking or drinking of alcoholic beverages is permitted in the shelters.

Acting Director of the DMCA Carlysle Williams said residents are asked to stay off the roads after midnight as this is when the island should begin to feel the effects of the hurricane.

Sirens will be used when necessary to provide alerts.

At 800 PM AST (0000 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 15.3 North, longitude 61.1 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 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. Maria is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. 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).

At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Maria was located by satellite imagery and data from the French radar on Martinique near latitude 15.1 North, longitude 60.7 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 center 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 have increased to near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts. Maria is an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 to 36 hours, and Maria is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane during the
next couple of days.

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 is 950 mb (28.06 inches).

 

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