With maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and the storm moving at 10 mph, Hurricane Maria, now a Category 5 storm, is expected to hit the Leeward Islands — many of which were already hit by Irma — late Monday.
Several predictions, including “spaghetti plots,” of Hurricane Maria’s path predict the storm will hit the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat, which are all under hurricane warning, according to the National Hurricane Center. Other islands, like Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Maarten and Saba and St. Eustatius, have tropical storm warnings. Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, Saba and St Eustatius and Anguilla are all under hurricane watch.
There are a number of different forecasts attempting to predict Hurricane Maria’s path as it passes over the Caribbean. So-called “spaghetti plots” or “spaghetti models” show some of these various paths, which are based on different forecasting models, including the European and American models.
These spaghetti plots, which can be found here, generally predict Hurricane Maria will pass over many of the islands listed above, as well as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Some of the models predict the storm will then travel up the Atlantic off the east coast of the United States. However, it’s too early to predict with accuracy how Hurricane Maria might impact the U.S., if at all.
The National Hurricane Center also produces other forecasts, including a “cone of uncertainty” chart showing where Hurricane Maria might travel over the next several days. This isn’t an exact path — the storm might travel anywhere inside this area. Hurricane Maria is expected to hit Puerto Rico early Wednesday morning, according to the NHC.
The NHC’s forecast does not yet predict whether Hurricane Irma could make landfall in Florida, which was hit heavily by Irma earlier this month, or other states along the American coastline.
Florida and islands in the Caribbean are still reeling after the deadly and devastating destruction caused by Irma, which, among other travesties, damaged or destroyed at least 90% of the buildings on Barbuda and St. Martin, leaving large numbers of the population homeless. That hurricane did not come long after Hurricane Harvey, which hit southeast Texas and Louisiana, and caused historic flooding and destruction in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States.