UPDATE: Hurricane Maria hammers Puerto Rico as most powerful storm to hit island since 1928
By Sara Sjolin and Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
AccuWeather is expecting up to four more named storms before the end of the Atlantic season
Hurricane Maria smashed into Puerto Rico Wednesday as a Category 4 storm that is the worst to hit the island since a 1928 hurricane that killed 300 people.
Puerto Ricans had been warned to evacuate or risk their lives, as Maria hit with enormous force, bringing huge waves, torrential rain and harsh winds that knocked out power across the island. Flash flood warnings were in effect, after river levels rose a stunning 20 feet, according to Weather.com (https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-hispaniola-bahamas-forecast). A storm surge of up to nine feet is also possible, said the weather service.
By afternoon, Maria had weakened to a Category 3 storm with its center just offshore the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico, moving northwest at 12 miles an hour with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles an hour, according to the National Hurricane Center, in its latest advisory. (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT5+shtml/201758.shtml)
After crossing Puerto Rico, Maria is expected to pass just north of the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic later in the day and then head toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas on Thursday and Friday. It is till too early to say whether Maria will threaten the U.S. East Coast.
"Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to remain a dangerous major hurricane through Friday," said the NHC.