The National Hurricane Center has upgraded formerly tropical storm Maria to a category one hurricane Sunday as it hurtles northwest toward the Lesser Antilles. The storm, which is expected to hammer the Leeward Islands Monday with 75 mph winds, has inspired several meteorologists to superimpose the latest forecast cone for Maria over the path traveled by Hurricane Irma. And the result, for many residents of the Caribbean, is frankly chilling.
After Irma hammered numerous Caribbean islands, leaving a million people in Puerto Rico without power and essentially wiping the tiny island of Barbuda off the map (not to mention the damage it caused in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina), it now appears that Maria could deal another devastating blow to the islands before they've had a chance to recover. In the chart below shared by Richard Dixon, a meteorologist at Cat Insight, areas within the yellow band in the chart below have a greater than 20% chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds next week as Maria glides over the Caribbean. Meanwhile, the blue band represents the path taken by Irma.
The group of islands potentially facing a second hit includes: Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The National Hurricane Center is warning that the storm could strike the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as early as next week.
While Maria gathers strength, Hurricane Jose is churning toward the US Northeast and could cause swells along the Atlantic coast by midweek, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm strengthened Sunday as it churned its way north through the Atlantic Ocean as a Category 1 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to ABC 7.
The latest track continues to keep Jose offshore, but close enough to the New Jersey and Long Island coasts to bring large and destructive waves, dangerous rip currents, beach erosion, rain and wind from Tuesday into Wednesday.