Last updated at 12 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Hurricane Maria, the thirteenth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, has rapidly intensified into a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 mph as of the 11 a.m. advisory (9/19/17) from the National Hurricane Center.
Maria is the second hurricane to reach Category 5 status this season.
Maria poses a significant and potentially catastrophic threat to Puerto Rico over the next 24 to 48 hours.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Hurricane Maria to maintain a Category 4 or 5 intensity with sustained winds of 150 mph or greater as it approaches Puerto Rico Wednesday.
Maria is expected to push to the west-northwest and skirt just north of Hispaniola and approach the Turks and Caicos Islands by Friday. After Day 5, majority of the models shift Maria further north keeping it in the Atlantic.
Majority of the models keep Maria away from the United States and pushes it out into the Atlantic. As of this time, majority of the models do NOT indicate Maria impacting Georgia. Since it is out in the Atlantic, we will continue to watch the system.
It is very possible that whatever is left of Jose (off the U.S. Northeast coast), could help steer Maria away from the United States. Still a lot of uncertainty if that will hold true. All depends if Jose holds together by this weekend and into early next week.
Stay with 13WMAZ Weather Team for the latest information regarding Hurricane Maria on air and online at 13wmaz.com.