Eye of Hurricane Maria Over Eastern Puerto Rico - US National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Maria

National Hurricane Center

The island has opened 500 storm shelters because evacuation isn't an option for many residents.

The NHC downgraded Maria to a Category 4 storm early Tuesday with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

The strongest storm to ever hit Puerto Rico was San Felipe in 1928 with 160 winds miles per hour.

After Dominica, Maria will move towards Puerto Rico as an "extremely unsafe major hurricane, and a warning has been issued", CNN quoted the NHC as saying.

National Hurricane Center forecaster say Maria will likely bring "life threatening flooding" from rain and storm surge.

Hurricane warnings were Wednesday morning in effect for the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques, the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas.

Maria, for now, is a smaller storm than Irma. Although Hurricane Irma had top sustained winds of 185 MPH, Irma's pressure never dropped below 914 MBs.

Maria is the first Category 5 hurricane to hit Dominica in the island's history, the Washington Post reported.

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Maria is expected to continue to head northwest into early next week and then continue north after Sunday.

Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello has declared a state of emergency ahead of the landfall expected on Wednesday. "This is going to be a catastrophic event".

Maria is expected to bring risky winds, a storm surge, and heavy rainfall to places that lie in its path. That kind of wind can destroy homes, uproot trees, and knock out power for months.

With Tropical Storm Jose sitting off-shore, New Yorkers avoided its worst effects Tuesday.

Adding to the gloom, AccuWeather said there is still a risk that more hurricanes will form over the Atlantic during the rest of the 2017 season, through the end of November. And while that seems like a lot, it's happened before. There have been seven hurricanes already this year - that's double the average.

"We've got 400 gallons of water and we have a generator and the food is stocked with canned goods and all sorts of different stuff", Britton said. And more storms can certainly form.

A flooded road and a bus stop in the French territory of Guadeloupe after the passage of Hurricane Maria. They tweet in both Spanish and English. He made several live updates via Facebook before he revealed that the storm had left his house without a roof.

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