Hurricane Maria is now an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 p.m. advisory.
The storm has 160 mph maximum sustained winds.
It is too soon to know whether or not Maria will impact the U.S. coast, including the Carolinas.
Maria is one of three storms churning in the Atlantic Ocean, but it poses the most danger to the hurricane-battered Caribbean.
Maria will affect portions of the Leeward Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands as an extremely dangerous major hurricane in the next couple of days and hurricane warnings are in effect for many of these islands, the National Hurricane Center said.
Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico as an extremely dangerous major hurricane. A hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico.
The potential for life-threatening storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves has increased for the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides from heavy rainfall are also expected across those islands.