Maria now a Category 5 hurricane, but track arcs away from SWFL

FORT MYERS, Fla. Hurricane Maria continues to intensify, but it won’t follow Irma’s path, WINK Chief Meteorologist Jim Farrell said.

The system became a Category 5 hurricane Monday night, just one day after it was upgraded from a tropical storm.

Maria has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph and is moving west-northwest at 9 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. advisory. The system has made landfall in Dominica and is about 270 miles southeast of St. Croix.

Model plots show the system arcing north and away from Florida by the weekend.

“Maria is forecast to stay in the Atlantic,” Farrell said. “We don’t see any single individual forecast model that brings it close to Florida.”

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culbera and Vieques the National Hurricane Center said.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Saba, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Martinique and St. Eustatius, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Anguilla and Isa Saona to Puerto Plata, the National Hurricane Center said.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Writer:Rachel Ravina
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