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Hurricane Maria Latest Updates - Puerto Rico Direct Hit
Hurricane Maria keeps intensifying hours before landfall
By Holly Yan, CNN
Updated 3:49 PM ET, Mon September 18, 2017
- In Puerto Rico, which will likely see landfall, 450 shelters are available
- The hurricane's first landfall is expected around 8 p.m. on the Leeward Islands
(CNN)Hurricane Maria's brute force doubled in strength as it barreled toward Caribbean islands already devastated by Hurricane Irma.
Monday afternoon, Maria was hurling winds of 125 mph (200 kilometers
per hour) as it closed in on the Caribbean and took aim at Puerto Rico.
nearly twice the hurricane's strength from just 24 hours earlier -- and
Maria is expected to keep growing before slamming into the Leeward
Islands this evening.
of 2 p.m. ET, Maria was centered about 45 miles (70 kilometers)
east-northeast of Martinique and 70 miles east-southeast of Dominica,
the National Hurricane Center said. The mammoth storm was moving
west-northwest at 10 mph.
first landfall is expected around 8 p.m. ET in the northeast Caribbean's
Leeward Islands -- specifically Dominica and Martinique.
for the first time in 85 years, Puerto Rico is expected to suffer a
direct landfall from a Category 4 hurricane. Puerto Rico's governor has
declared a state of emergency ahead of that landfall, which will likely
"It's time to wrap up your preparations now, Puerto Rico," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
Bracing for impact
before Maria's expected landfall on Dominica -- and just over week
after the island was brushed by Irma -- Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit
urged residents to take any belongings that could become dangerous
"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."