Hurricane Maria Weakens as It Moves North

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 1, 2017

Local residents look at houses submerged by flood waters close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017.

Hurricane Maria has claimed more than 30 lives across the region and is the second devastating storm to hit the Caribbean in the past two weeks.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew through Saturday for the island's 3.4 million people.

Still a category three hurricane, packing sustained wind speeds of 115mph and even stronger gusts, Maria will travel parallel to the coast of Florida, before skirting the Carolinas, Virginia and New England.

Hurricane Maria lashed the Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday after destroying homes, causing widespread flooding, crippling economies and killing at least 25 people on Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. Two people died when the storm roared past the Dominican Republic on Thursday, according to local media outlet El Jaya.

Maria churned past Turks and Caicos and was 115 miles (185 km) east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas by 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) on Friday, the NHC said. Tropical storm Lee has been drifting northwards but is expected to turn eastwards and be near hurricane-strength by next weekend.

A unsafe storm surge and large waves will raise water levels by as much as 9 to 12 feet above normal tide in the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas, the center said.

The storm was expected to be closer to the US East Coast and Bermuda by the middle of next week, the NHC said, adding that it was too soon to determine what, if any, direct effect it would have on the US mainland. Some 25 towns remained cut off. It followed Harvey, which also killed more than 80 people when it struck Texas in late August and caused flooding in Houston.

Maria was the thirteenth storm to develop this Atlantic hurricane season, which is above the average number of storms typically seen, which is 12.

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