Formerly Tropical Storm Maria, North Americans have eyed this storm for nearly two weeks and it finally appears ready to make landfall... in Newfoundland.
Hurricane Maria is located about 375 miles southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. At present, the Category 1 hurricane is moving northeast at 45 mph, according to an 8 a.m. EDT alert from the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm is expected to make a gradual increase in forward speed during the day Friday followed by a turn toward the north-northeast and additional acceleration overnight.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Newfoundland from Arnolds Cove to Brigus South.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Newfoundland from Stones Cove to Arnolds Cove and from Brigus South to Charlottetown.
On the forecast track, the center of Maria is expected to pass near or over extreme southeastern Newfoundland with 80 mph winds Friday afternoon. The storm is expected to weaken Friday night and may be absorbed within a frontal zone by Saturday.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin across southeastern Newfoundland Friday morning with hurricane conditions expected by midday. The National Hurricane Center warns that a strong storm surge could cause localized coastal flooding near and to the east of where the center of Maria makes landfall, though only one to three inches of rain is expected.
Maria comes just one year after Hurricane Igor tore apart infrastructure on Newfoundland, leaving dozens of communities in states of emergency.
Fast forward to 2011, and it's turning out to be the unusually busy year that forecasters had predicted. The Atlantic hurricane season typically brings 11 or 12 named storms. Maria, the third Hurricane of the season, has long outlived Tropical Storm Nate, which was the 14th named storm of the year - and the Atlantic hurricane season does not end until November 30.