Maria upgraded to Category 1 hurricane

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a more active than normal hurricane season this year.

US Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp said Maria was due to pass within 10 miles of the island of St. Croix, which escaped the brunt of Irma's clout on September 6.

Though categorized as a Category 5 storm when hitting Dominica, it has since been downgraded to a Category 4, after making landfall.

Hurricane Maria is still on a track that will eventually take the storm out into the Atlantic from Sebastian and Vero Beach, for now, but there are some serious concerns if it will make landfall after passing Florida.

The Category 5 storm, with winds clocking at more than 160 miles per hour, hit Dominica on Monday evening, leaving what Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt described on Tuesday as "widespread devastation".

Maria has regained its category 5 status and is now surging northwest towards Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. "Interests in these areas should monitor the progress of Maria and follow any advice given by local officials", the warning concludes. But Maria is now sustaining 125 miles per hour winds.

Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of Dominica, wrote on Facebook that his roof was gone, that his home was flooded and that he was "at the complete mercy of the hurricane".

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Officials said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ready to bring drinking water and help restore power in Puerto Rico immediately after the storm.

Hurricane warnings are now in effect for the British and US Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat. Maria's path also crossed Martinique, French Guadeloupe and St. Lucia.

The NHC said that the hurricane would reach Puerto Rico by Wednesday.

The eye of the potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane and its intense inner core is nearing Dominica. We'll have a better idea of it's path and track over the next couple of days as this storm is still almost 2,000 miles from the First Coast. The island will be battered by hurricane-force winds for the "better part of a day" on Wednesday, he told CNN.

In addition to Maria there is also Hurricane Jose to the north. Jose is expected to weaken and stay offshore of the U.S. East Coast.

One lawyer based in Dominica said that his roof and ceiling had collapsed and his pain was further compounded by two inches of water in his house.

  • Sonia Alvarado