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Hurricane Maria slams Puerto Rico; tracking northwest

RICHMOND, Va. — Hurricane Maria began as a tropical wave late last week.  It became a tropical storm Saturday afternoon and a hurricane 24 hours later.  By the time it hit Dominica Monday evening, it was a category five hurricane with winds of 160 mph.  It hit the U.S. Virgin Islands Tuesday night and struck Puerto Rico Wednesday morning with winds of 155 mph (2 mph shy of category five status).

Maria is tracking to the northwest and will affect the Dominican Republic Wednesday night, and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday.  After that, Maria will track just east of the Bahamas.

After that point, the majority of computer models curve Maria away from the Mid-Atlantic coast late this weekend into early next week.  However, a few models do bring Maria close to the Mid-Atlantic coast.

The track forecast is difficult for that period of time because Maria’s movement will be dictated by many different factors in the Northern Hemisphere.  A strong area of high pressure will be in the Atlantic, another high will be over the northeastern states, and the remnants of Jose will be off the coast to our northeast.  The strength of each of these items will either block Maria or allow her to move.

At this point, while a Mid-Atlantic landfall is not likely, this storm definitely needs to be watched over the next week.  Additional details can be found in the CBS 6 Hurricane Tracker.

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