Hurricane Maria is heading northwest towards the Caribbean and Florida
Maria was upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday evening and the latest NHC forecast shows the storm travelling along a west-northwest trajectory, placing Florida in its path.
While no storm warnings have been issued for the recently Irma-ravaged Florida, the NHC has said Maria is forecasted to make landfall in the Caribbean on Monday.
Additional forecasts suggest the storm may continue northwesterly and strike the Bahamas by Friday, placing it southeast of the Florida coastline.
Meanwhile, the HurricaneTracker App warned, “the entire [US] east coast is at risk for a direct hit”.
But on Twitter, it added: “If someone tells you they know where Maria is headed in the long term, they are wrong.”
The latest NHC public advisory at 8pm EDT on Sunday said: “On the forecast track, the centre of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands Monday night and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday.
“Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80mph (130kmph) with higher gusts.
“Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria could be near major hurricane intensity when it moves across the Leeward Islands Monday night.
Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis as well as Montserrat
The entire [US] east coast is at risk for a direct hit
“Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15miles (30 km) from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105miles (165km).”
Florida residents are already bracing for Hurricane Maria according to social media posts.
Stephanie Witmer from Delray Beach, Florida, tweeted: “God help us. All the devastation, far from being fixed or cleared, the Caribbean, PR [Puerto Rico], Keys, FL [Florida]. Enough! Go away Hurricane Maria!!”
Another Twitter user from Miami, Florida commented: “Hurricane Maria please, enough already! Pray for the Caribbean and FL [Florida]. Still waiting for insurance adjuster from Irma damage. Too much.”
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While Clair Ottley from the Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis said: “Preparing for Hurricane Maria. Candles-check. Water-check check check. Food-check. Faith-check.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also tweeted a warning about the Hurricane yesterday which said “Maria is coming” with a link to the NHC advisory.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis as well as Montserrat.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St Eustatius and St Lucia.
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A Hurricane Watch is in place for several territories hit by Irma, including the British Virgin Islands, St Martin, St Barthelemy and Anguilla as well as the US Virgin Islands, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten.
It comes after Hurricane Irma devastated Florida and Georgia after decimating parts of the Caribbean.
At least 84 people were killed by Irma after it ripped through houses, wiped out power lines and flattened buildings in the Caribbean and the US.
Gaston Browne, the prime minister of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which was ravaged by Irma described the territory as “barely habitable” after the powerful Category 5 storm struck.
Mr Browne said: ”This rebuilding initiative will take years.”