At 800 PM EDT (0000 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 23.8 North, longitude 71.6 West.  Maria is moving toward the north-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through Saturday.  A turn toward the north is forecast by Saturday night.

We are fortunate tonight to have an Air Force and a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft sampling Maria. In fact, a Coyote unmanned aerial vehicle launched from the NOAA P3 aircraft successfully measured winds in the eyewall. Data from these platforms indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts.  Maria is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km).

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * Turks and Caicos Islands * Southeastern Bahamas * Central Bahamas