Hurricane Maria surges toward Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

The core of “extremely dangerous” Hurricane Maria charged closer to Puerto Rico early Wednesday, slamming smaller Caribbean islands along the way.

Maria had top sustained winds of 155 mph, and was located about 50 miles southeast of San Juan, the National Hurricane Center reported in its 5 a.m. ET Wednesday advisory.

The major hurricane was moving to the west-northwest at 10 mph, and was “expected to reach southeastern Puerto Rico this morning,” according to the NHC.

“Conditions will continue to deteriorate across the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, with the worst conditions there early Wednesday morning,” Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said Tuesday. “Puerto Rico is forecast to take a direct hit from this major hurricane on Wednesday, with the worst conditions from late Wednesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.”

Early Wednesday, Maria passed west of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as winds on the island reached about 90 mph, Reuters reported. Many of the island’s residents moved to shelters Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp minced no words in warning residents to seek cover, Reuters reported.

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