Maria to bring 'life threatening' wind, storm surge and flooding to islands

The Cat 5 storm is headed straight toward St. Croix and Puerto Rico.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Hurricane Maria's impressive lifespan is proving devastating and potentially catastrophic for many more Caribbean islands.

Maria regained its Category 5 strength early Tuesday, Sept. 19, after weakening slightly as it made landfall on Dominica the night before. 

It is a 175-mph storm as it closes in on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to the 11 p.m. Tuesday advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Maria is moving west-northwest at 10 mph and is about 30 miles southeast of St. Croix.

The minimum central pressure is 909 mb.

More: Track the tropics, download the 10News app

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerri wrote several posts on Facebook as the storm while it moved over the island, reporting Maria ripped off his roof and his home was flooding.

Skerri later reported he was rescued.

It remains too early to definitively say Maria will not impact Florida, however, the official track from the National Hurricane Center shows the storm veering out to sea in later forecasts.

Numerous hurricane warnings and watches are in effect for the Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe and more. Hurricane-force winds in excess of 74 mph are anticipated within the next 36 hours across these areas.

More: Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale: How to measure a tropical cyclone's strength

Related: Hurricane season: What's a watch, what's a warning?

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