Tropical Storm Maria spun up quickly on Saturday and Watches were issued for the Northern Leeward Islands. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 52.6°W which put it about 620 miles (1000 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. Maria was moving toward the west at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.
A Hurricane Watch was in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominca, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The circulation of Tropical Storm Maria organized quickly on Saturday. A primary rainband wrapped most of the way around the center of circulation. Thunderstorms in the core of the circulation generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical storm. Numerous additional bands of showers and thunderstorms developed outside the core of the circulation.
Tropical Storm Maria will move through and environment that will be favorable for intensification. Maria will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear. Tropical Storm Maria could intensify rapidly during the next day or two. Maria is likely to become a hurricane on Sunday. Maria could strengthen into a major hurricane early next week.
The subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean has been steering Tropical Storm Maria quickly toward the west. The ridge is forecast to weaken slightly during the next several days and Tropical Storm Maria will move more toward the west-northwest. Maria could reach the northern Leeward Islands within 48 hours. Maria could be near Puerto Rico in about three days. Maria will move over some of the same places that were seriously damaged by Hurricane Irma. Maria could severely impact recovery efforts in that region.
Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Hurricane Jose moved slowly toward the north southeast of the U.S. and Tropical Storm Lee formed over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 28.9°N and longitude 71.9°W which put it about 485 miles (780 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Jose was moving toward the north at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.
At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Lee was located at latitude 12.6°N and longitude 34.2°W which put it about 720 miles (1160 km) west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Lee was moving toward the west at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.