MIAMI – Hurricane Maria weakened late Wednesday to a category 2 and is currently advancing towards the eastern part of the Dominican Republic with winds of up to 175 km/h, after having devastated Puerto Rico causing catastrophic floods.
The hurricane, which made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday as category 4, is located 90 km east-northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and is moving toward the northwest at 19 km/h, according to the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The NHC said in the public advisory released at 8.00pm local time (24.00 GMT) that Hurricane Maria will continue moving towards the northwest, although a decrease in forward speed is expected through Thursday night and that a turn to the north-northwest will likely happen on Friday.
It is also expected to strengthen during the next day or two and could regain major hurricane status by later Thursday.
The forecasted track indicates that Maria’s eye will move away from the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico during Wednesday night.
Its center will pass offshore of the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night and Thursday and then will move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.
A hurricane warning is still in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques, from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas.