As Hurricane Maria pounds Puerto Rico Wednesday morning, the positioning models of the storm are giving residents of Hurricane Irma-ravaged Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina reason to breath a little sigh of relief.
The long-range cone of uncertainty shows the Category 4 storm taking a northern turn sooner than initially forecast. That should send it out to sea, rather than an impact on the U.S. coastline, say forecasters.
The shift is also good news for the Bahamas, which appeared to be in the storm’s path on Monday. The most recent projection from the National Hurricane Center, however, shows the storm’s path bypassing the islands. (Because Maria will still be a major hurricane, though, it will likely bring some rough riptides and currents to the islands – and potentially the eastern seaboard.)
All of this, of course, is little consolation to Puerto Rico. The storm made landfall near the city of Yabucoa at approximately 6:15 this morning. It is the strongest storm to hit directly impact Puerto Rico since 1932. Some sensors on the island reported wind gusts of 120mph before they were blown offline.
Maria left “mind boggling” damage to the island of Dominica Tuesday. At least nine people died on that island because of the storm.