Tropical Storm Maria has formed in the Atlantic and seems to following a similar path to Hurricane Irma. At this time, the storm has not strengthened to a hurricane, but she is expected to do so over the next couple of days.
The latest models from the National Hurricane Center show Maria heading over the Caribbean and possibly disrupting Puerto Rico before setting her sights on Florida — or, at least, in Florida’s general direction. While it is entirely possible that she will go out to sea, there is also the possibility that Maria will make landfall in Florida or that she will ride up the eastern seaboard, affecting several states along the way.
Below is the latest projected path for Tropical Storm Maria. As you can see, Maria does appear to be moving a bit north as she moves east, which could spare the state of Florida, but the cone of uncertainty is still pretty broad at this point in time. If she keeps moving in this exact direction, Florida will most certainly be in her path.
“Tropical Storm Maria has formed east of the Lesser Antilles. Now forecast to become a major hurricane Tuesday into Wednesday. Current forecast takes it to the northern islands of the Caribbean… some of which were hit by Hurricane Irma,” Tampa, Florida, meteorologist Denis Phillips wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday afternoon.
Phillips also posted a map of hurricane strength that shows Maria becoming a Category 3 storm when she reaches Puerto Rico. According to that map, Maria will be downgraded to a Category 2 with 110 mph winds by the time the Dominican Republic feels an impact some time on Thursday.
Below is a map showing the earliest arrival times of tropical storm force winds. Maria should be making her way toward the Bahamas by Wednesday.
More information about Tropical Storm Maria and her projected path will be available in the coming days.