Tropical Storm Maria has been named as of the 5 pm Saturday, 9/16/17 advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The center is just over 600 miles to the ESE of the Lesser Antilles.
Maria is expected to continue moving in a west to west-northwesterly direction over the next several days and steady strengthening is anticipated. Maria is expected to be a hurricane as it moves through the islands by early next week.
The NHC thinks that Maria may be an extremely dangerous major hurricane (Cat 3+) as it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by late Tuesday into Wednesday. This would bring another devastating blow to an area already hard hit by Irma in recent weeks.
Beyond the 5 day forecast period, steering currents in the atmosphere suggest that Maria should continue moving in the general direction of the U.S. East Coast. Will it directly threaten the U.S. or turn away in time to spare us another landfall? Still way too early to tell. It's definitely something we'll continue to watch very closely. Any potential U.S. impact would be at least 7-10 days away.