Hurricane Maria is a catastrophic category 5 hurricane tonight. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft has confirmed an intensifying storm into the nighttime hours.
At 8:00 PM Hurricane Maria has maximum sustained winds near 175 mph.
Hurricane force winds extend up to 35 miles from the center of this storm.
The current movement of Maria will bring the eye over St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight.
Maria is forecast to strike Puerto Rico Wednesday at category 5 strength.
This would make Maria only the second category 5 storm to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1851.
A gradual turn to the north is expected into the weekend. Maria will maintain hurricane status into early next week while coming close to the U.S. east coast. Interests should be monitoring this storm closely.