Maria strengthens to a Category 5 Hurricane; Jose near the US East Coast

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Maria has become the latest hurricane this season to strengthen to a Category 5 Major Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Jose is near the east coast with high seas and dangerous rip currents.

-----------------Monday Evening Update-------------------

As of the 7pm (CDT) hour, Maria strengthened to a Category 5 Hurricane with winds sustained at 160mph. As of 8:30pm (CDT) Maria made landfall on Dominica.

Hurricane force winds extend outward of the center to 25 miles, with tropical storm force winds extended up to 125 miles out from the center.

Storm surge for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands is expected between 6 and 9 feet. Rainfall over Puerto Rico is forecast between 12 and 18 inches, with localized totals upwards of 25 inches.

There has been little change with Jose from updates below.

-----------------Monday Afternoon Update-------------------

Maria has rapidly intensified and strengthened to a Category 4 storm as of Monday afternoon. Maria is moving to the WNW around 9mph headed toward the Leeward Islands later today and then Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130 mph (215 km/h)
making Maria an extremely dangerous category 4 storm. Additional
strengthening is expected in the next 24 to 36 hours. Hurricane warnings and watches are in place for many in and around the Caribbean Sea.

While Maria is getting stronger, Hurricane Jose is holding rather steady in strength. Jose is still a Category 1 Hurricane with winds of 75 mph. Little strengthening is expected as Jose moves to the north around 10 mph.

Jose will pass to the east and offshore of the Delmarva peninsula Monday night and Tuesday, then to the east of the New Jersey coast on Wednesday. No direct land threat but dangerous surf and rip currents expected for the east coast.

To the east of Maria, we have our third and weakest storm - Tropical Depression Lee. Lee is moving west-northwest around 16 mph with winds of 35 mph. This storm is expected to weaken and become a remnant low sometime Monday night to Tuesday.

-------------------------Monday AM Update-------------------------------
Maria has rapidly intensified and is now a Category 3 Major Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. Jose eyeing the east coast with high seas and dangerous rip currents.

Hurricane Maria is the 4th major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season and is expected to strengthen even further over the next 24-36 hours.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for the Leeward Islands and the US and British Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is still under a Hurricane Watch but will likely be added to the warning later today. Unfortunately, Maria is expected to bring significant impacts to places devastated by Hurricane Irma just 2 weeks ago. Maria is not expected to impact Texas at all.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose just keeps chugging along and remains a borderline Category 1 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Tropical Storm Warnings are up for portions of New England.

The main concern for the east coast will be rip currents and increased wave heights. Jose is expected to curve out to see from Thursday and beyond and weaken to a tropical storm.