A radar view of Hurricane Maria. Photo: NOAA
Hurricane Maria has strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 hurricane as it bears down on Caribbean islands already ravaged by Hurricane Irma, per the National Hurricane Center.
- In its path: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands are all under a hurricane warning with Maria's effects expected Tuesday into Wednesday.
- The effects: Potentially a Category 5 storm by the time it hits Puerto Rico, Maria could dump around a foot of rain, along with a massive storm surge of six to nine feet. Maria's winds will likely top 130 mph — but, in one bit of good news, its strongest winds remain confined to a small area near the eye.
- Not a surprise: National Geographic points out that — though this hurricane season was forecast to be more active than usual thanks to atmospheric and thermal conditions — it's not exactly out of the ordinary for the Atlantic.