At 8 am, the centre of Hurricane Maria, now category 2, was near 14.6°N 59.7°W or about 140 miles (225 km) to the north-east of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; moving west-northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h) and this motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night. The centre is expected to pass approximately 135 miles to the north of our islands later today. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110mph (175km/h) with higher gusts.

Minimum central pressure was 967mb or 28.56inches. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30km) from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km).

Pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain, thunderstorms and gusty winds are already happening across SVG.

Rainfall accumulations of 4 – 8 inches (100 – 200 mm) from today through Wednesday are possible, with higher amounts in mountainous areas. Fresh to strong westerly to south- westerly winds 20 – 30 mph (32 – 50km/h) with higher gusts is forecast for today. Then as Maria pulls away from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday, southerly flow becomes south-easterly on Wednesday.

Seas across SVG are now expected to peak between 4 – 6 meters (13-20 ft) by Monday, especially on northern coasts of mainland, with life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. As Hurricane Maria is projected to be a major hurricane in the Caribbean Sea, northerly and westerly swells are expected across St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A Flood Warning is in effect until 6:00pm today, Monday 18th, 2017. The High Surf Advisory and Small Craft Warning remain in effect. Sea bathers and other users of the sea should stay out of the water.

Persons near rivers, streams and coastline areas prone to flooding and land slippage, should take precautions.

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