Experts: Hurricane Maria Could Hit Puerto Rico Harder Than Irma

Hurricane Irma
This image made from video shows several damaged houses by Hurricane Irma in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. // Photo by AP Photo/Ian Brown via Newscred

The meteorologists at AccuWeather are reporting that Hurricane Maria could have a larger impact in Puerto Rico than the recent Hurricane Irma did when it passed through the destination more than a week ago. 

According to the latest AccuWeather report, Hurricane Maria is expected to bring direct impacts to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, parts of Hispaniola and the Bahamas this week. According to that report, up to about 10 percent of the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) for Puerto Rico will be impacted by storm.

As of 11 a.m. Maria was located roughly 115 miles west of Guadeloupe, or 150 miles southeast of St. Croix. Maria was still a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph and was tracking to the west-northwest at 10 mph, according to AccuWeather. 

The eye of Maria will track close to the Virgin Islands late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning before crossing Puerto Rico from southeast to northwest during the day Wednesday. The eye will then track very close to the Turks and Caicos Friday morning, according to AccuWeather. 

According to the latest advisory issued around 2 p.m. by the National Hurricane Center, the Meteorological Service of the Dominican Republic has issued a hurricane warning from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata, a tropical storm warning west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and a tropical storm warning west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque.

The Government of France has changed the hurricane warning for Guadeloupe to a tropical storm warning, and has discontinued the tropical storm warning for Martinique, according to the National Hurricane Center.

AccuWeather reports that Maria will remain a major hurricane, potentially as strong as Category 4 status (130-156 mph), for the remainder of the week. “This will bring catastrophic destruction to areas that missed the worst of Irma,” according to the AccuWeather report. 

According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane warnings also remain in effect for Dominica; St. Kitts and NevisMontserrat; the U.S. Virgin Islands, the The British Virgin Islands; and Puerto Rico (Culebra and Vieques).

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Antigua and BarbudaSaba and St. EustaiusSt. MaartenAnguilla; Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic. A hurricane watch is also still in effect for Saba and St. Eustatius; St. Maarten/St. MartinSt. Barts and Anguilla.

St. Lucia, however, seems to have gotten lucky as Hurricane Maria was first downgraded to a tropical storm for that destination and then eventually the tropical storm warning was discontinued for the island, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

“Our prayers are with all those who are in harm's way, some of whom were impacted by Hurricane Irma less than two weeks ago,” said the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in a statement release earlier this morning. “We will immediately begin to assist with sourcing and raising funds, relief suppliers and shelter. We will also help to manage the vital communications process. We are attempting to assess the most urgent needs and to tackle those first.”

For all flight updates, click here and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more Hurricane Maria updates. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260

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