Hurricane Maria has strengthened into a Category 5 storm according the National Hurricane Center. The storm's current course has it bearing down on Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands that are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma.
The NHC Atlantic Ops tweeted out that the Category 5 storm was producing maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Hurricane warnings were issued for Puerto Rico, as well as the satellite islands of Culebra and Vieques, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The advisory also warned residents of a life-threatening storm surge that would be accompanied by "large and destructive waves," hitting the "Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico."
An emergency declaration for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands was approved by President Donald Trump, who ordered federal assistance to help with the anticipated disaster relief.
Maria is currently about 15 miles east-southeast of Dominica, and moving west-northwest at 9 mph, where the storm's path could take it toward a possible direct strike on Puerto Rico on Wednesday.