Eye of Cat 3 Hurricane Maria taking time to approach Turks and Caicos Islands

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Category 3 Hurricane Maria is taking its time approaching the Turks and Caicos Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm, which is packing 125 mph winds, is about 90 miles north northeast of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic and 65 miles east southeast of Grand Turk Island.

“The forecast track will ultimately weaken it to a Category 2 hurricane, but it is far away from the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida,” said Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Steve Jerve. “Computer models have been very consistent. This one will not affect our weather, perhaps some higher seas on the east coast of Florida. Otherwise, the computer model track has issued that forecast.”

The NHC confirmed torrential rains and dangerous high waves are continuing along the north coast of Hispaniola.

Maria pummeled Puerto Rico with landslides, flooding and downed trees prior to lashing the Dominican Republic.

Maria is expected to stay far away from Florida’s east coast.

Here is a summary of watches and warnings in effect for Hurricane Maria

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
  • Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • Central Bahamas

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