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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Maria is forecast to become a major hurricane as it moves near the Leeward Islands.

At 11 p.m. Maria was located about 100 miles northeast of Barbados and 200 miles east-southeast of Dominica.

Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night.

On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands late Monday and Monday night and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts. Rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a major hurricane as it moves through the Leeward Islands.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km).

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Guadeloupe
* Dominica
* St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat
* Martinique

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Antigua and Barbuda
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Lucia

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
* Anguilla

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* Barbados
* St. Vincent and the Grenadines

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

WIND: Hurricane conditions are first expected within portions of the Leeward Islands by Monday night, with tropical storm conditions beginning on Monday. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible Monday night. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area Monday or Monday night.

STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet above normal tide levels near where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands.

RAINFALL: Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of
6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night. Maria is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches for the northern and central Windward Islands. In all the above areas, these rainfall amounts could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

SURF: Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Lesser Antilles.

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