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Tropical storm Maria has officially been upgraded to Hurricane Maria, according to forecasters at the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
Following hurricane’s Irene and Katia, Maria marks the 3rd tropical storm to be upgraded to hurricane status in the 2011 season. Maria’s projected path has been determined, and should stay far away from the eastern seaboard of the United States. Its current path has taken Maria through the Caribbean Island’s and was predicted to recreate destructive conditions similar to those of Hurricane Irene. That brooding prediction sent some island dwellers into hurricane survival mode for the 2nd time in three weeks.
Elise Landa, a medical student currently studying at the University of Saba on the small island of Saba said, “I was prepared for the worst, it was said that it was going to be Irene all over again. I boarded up my windows and doors, and stockpiled on water.” However, Maria’s strength had been adversely affected before it reached Saba. The tropical storm ran into unfavorable hurricane conditions before it reached the Leeward Islands and was weakened. “There was only half an inch of rain, if that. I’m not complaining though, I’ve only been down here for a couple of months and I’m not ready to be hit by hurricane after hurricane.” Unfortunately not everywhere was as lucky as Saba, Maria caused a bit of serious damage in Puerto Rico. Considerable rainfall was recorded and caused more flooding to areas still trying to recover from the affects of Hurricane Irene.
From the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria moved northward toward the Bermuda area, the warm water climate enabled Maria to gain some momentum and begin producing stronger winds than any previously recorded. As it passed by Bermuda it caused moderate amounts of rainfall, only dumping 1-3 inches on the tiny island. Like a disinterested tourist, Hurricane Maria left Bermuda just as quickly as it came. Hurricane Maria now has its sight set on a new target, which regrettably happens to be the southern edge of Newfoundland in Canada.
On Friday morning, the eye of the hurricane was expected to either sweep directly over or follow along the southern coast of the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland, this is according to a public advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center. Maria may not be expected to cause damage of apocalyptic proportions, but Maria is definitely planning to wreak havoc along the Avalon coastline. Rainfall is expected to be in the 1-4 inch range, that increase in rain will cause flooding along the coast and as a result create large and destructive waves. Winds are being predicted to be blustering as they whip around anywhere from 45-80 mph, fully capable of toppling trees and damaging roofing material. It may not be the End of Days for the Avalon coast, but the outlook is definitely gloomy.
But if there are any bright spots to this situation, it is that before Maria reaches the coast of Avalon, it will travel into colder waters. This will weaken, and begin the process of downgrading Hurricane Maria back into a tropical storm, possibly preventing severe damage and possibly preventing the citizens of Avalon from being endangered.
Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/6141261157/