On Tuesday morning, Sept. 19, Hurricane Maria barreled through Dominica, devastating the island and its 70,000 plus residents with a direct hit while maintaining Category 5 strength. On Wednesday, the powerful storm continued its course with a direct hit, this time at Category 4 strength, but nonetheless hitting Puerto Rico with the strongest storm it's seen in more than 80 years. On its way to impacting the U.S. territory, the storm stayed relatively true to the path predicted via projections, which may beg the question for some New Yorkers: According to those projections, will Hurricane Maria hit New York?
According to AccuWeather, the storm could have some effects on the Empire State -- depending on atmospheric conditions elsewhere in the United States -- and could travel along the same path that Hurricane Jose recently traveled. As Maria is expected to, Jose traveled northward from the Caribbean and along the eastern shore of the mainland United States. On Wednesday, forecasts showed that the storm -- which was recently downgraded to a tropical storm -- could cause dangerous currents along the coasts of New York and New Jersey. The night before, the storm caused some flooding in coastal towns within the tri-state area.
For the New York area, Hurricane Maria appears to pose a similar threat: a strong storm that could still be strong enough by the time it reached the northern Atlantic to cause heavy rainfall in New York. That is, if the storm stays tens of miles to the east of the American coasts. Current projections put the storm on course to curve away from making a direct hit to the northeastern states.
But what are the chances of an expected change of paths that would bring Maria closer to New York in the future? Accuweather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams broke it down.
On one hand, the fast-moving, non-tropical storm from the Midwest could kick Maria out to sea or at least keep it offshore. On the other hand, a slower-moving Midwest storm could pull Maria close to the coast or perhaps onshore. 'If this happens, there is the potential for wind and heavy rain in part of the eastern U.S. or Atlantic Canada should the systems converge,' Abrams said.
Throughout the week, there are sure to be developments in projections that only make Maria's path clearer. In any event, however, the storm looks nowhere near likely to cause the type of damage it already has in the Caribbean thus far.
Maria leveled Dominica on Tuesday. As the storm traveled through the island, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, wrote on Facebook,
Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.
On Wednesday, a top adviser for the prime minister provided an even more serious account. The adviser, Hartley Henry, wrote on Facebook as well,
Many buildings serving as shelters lost roofs, which means that a very urgent need now is tarpaulins and other roofing materials. Little contact has been made with the outer communities but persons who walked 10 and 15 miles towards the city of Roseau from various outer districts report total destruction of homes, some roadways and crops.
Aerial images now show the extent of damage on the island.
On Wednesday, Maria then hit Puerto Rico with winds up to 155 mph. Should the storm stay on its projected course, it is expected to hit the Dominican Republic next. After traveling through the Caribbean, the storm is then expected to turn northwards.
Any effect Maria has on the northeast United States, and particularly New York, however, is likely to pale in comparison to what the storm has already done elsewhere.