At 500 AM AST (0900 UTC), the large eye of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 19.6 North, longitude 68.4 West. Maria is moving toward the northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is expected through tonight. A turn toward the north-northwest is forecast on Friday. On the forecast track, the eye of Hurricane Maria will continue to pass offshore of the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic today. Maria should then move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas tonight and Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts. Maria is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some strengthening is possible during the next day or so.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km). Punta Cana in the eastern Dominican Republic recently reported a wind gust to 56 mph (91 km/h).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 959 mb (28.32 inches).