As Hurricane Maria increases in strength over the Atlantic, the category 5 cyclone with wind speeds of 160 mph (260 km/h) will bear down on Puerto Rico by Wednesday.
The colossal cyclone was “reinvigorated’ earlier today, after it made landfall over the island of Dominica and was downgraded to a category 4 hurricane.
But as the life-threatening weather front approaches the US and British Virgin Islands tonight, long-term forecasts cast doubt on Maria’s eventual path.
Several strands of the European Center for Medium-Range Weather (ECMWF) spaghetti model suggest that Maria could make its way towards the US.
A few rouge path tracks can be seen moving across the Bahamas and into Florida just two weeks after Hurricane Irma wrecked the state.
Other possible tracks can be seen trailing off along the US East Coast with some making landfall in the northeastern-most parts of North Carolina.
Another spaghetti model compiled by America’s Global Forecast System (GFS), completely avoids Florida, but suggests possible landfall over the eastern coast sometime over the weekend.
One spaghetti plot compiled by the WKYT weather station has a much wider spread of paths, with one track trailing as far out as the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
This model shows several possible tracks striking all along the East Coast from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and even as far up as Virginia.
It is however important to note that the spaghetti models are all based on several uncertain predictions and need to be taken with caution.
For the most part, the convoluted mass of path tracks stay clear of the US, and trail off towards the open Atlantic in the east.
Scott Krentz of the National Weather Service office in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, underlined that forecasters will have better outlook on Maria’s path by the weekend.
This view was mirrored by Nick Petro of the National Weather Service in Raleigh, who told the Raleigh News & Observer that it is too early to agree on a path.
“There are too many possibilities right now,” he said.
NOAA’s National Hurricane Centre (NHC), which continually tracks the storm’s path, has a much more positive outlook for the residents of the US.
The NHC’s predicted path shows the eye of the hurricane staying clear of the Western Bahamas and heading out towards the Open Atlantic.
The UK Met Office storm tracker similarly predicts that after Maria slams into the Virgin Islands, it will move away from the US.
However in the eventuality that Maria could reach the United States by the end of the week, Florida’s authorities have urged all residents to remain vigilant over the next few days.
Senator Marco Rubio tweeted to his followers: “Everyone in Florida should take a few minutes today to plan JUST IN CASE we find ourselves with threat from a Hurricane Maria later this week.”
Hurricane warnings and watches are currently in effect for large portions of the Caribbean. Click here to read the full list of Hurricane Maria Warnings.