Caribbean braces for Hurricane Maria, now a Cat. 5

Maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour have been reported in Hurricane Maria, now heading toward islands that have already been pummeled this month, including Puerto Rico and the British and US Virgin Islands, the New York Times reports.

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Wind speeds over 156 mph make it a Category 5 hurricane, according to the United States Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which categorizes tropical cyclones based on their wind speed.

The winds are forecast to decrease a little by the time the storm gets to Puerto Rico, but it’s expected to pass over the island as a Category 4 storm and still a potentially dangerous weather event. Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Puerto Rico.

Gov Ricardo Rossello said starting midday Tuesday, conditions will begin to deteriorate and the island could get between 12 and 18 inches of rain, ABC News reported.

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Paul Katula
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