Hurricane Maria, a storm set to strengthen over the next few days, is expected to reach the same Carribean islands hit by Irma just a few days ago. By the time it reaches the northeastern Caribbean sea on Tuesday, Maria is expected to develop into a category 3 or 4 hurricane.
“Maria is likely to strengthen significantly, and is expected to be at major hurricane intensity when it affects portions of the Leeward Islands over the next few days, bringing dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards,” the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory message issued at 5 a.m. Eastern on Monday.
A hurricane watch has been issued for a number of islands. The list includes the British and United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. Around six to 12 inches of rain is expected to hit Puerto Rico by Wednesday night.
But while a number of charts show how Maria will follow a similar path to Irma, not all maps are created equal. The so-called spahgetti plots that make the rounds on social media have been criticized by metrorologist Eric Berger, who wrote an article for Ars Technica about why the data may be misleading. They don’t include the accurate European forecast system, for example, and the data can be as much as 12 hours out of date.
If you want to track Hurricane Maria’s path, your best bet would be to use the same live trackers as the ones used to track Hurriance Irma, or check the official models put out by the National Hurricane Center every six hours.
These sources could change rapidly as the hurricane develops. While Maria is currently at Category 1 with winds around 90 mph,
The below graphics are up-to-date as of 5 a.m. Eastern on Monday.