NEW BERN, Craven County - With Maria now back in open waters, the hurricane gathered some additional strength during the day Thursday as it approaches the Grand Turk Islands and the Dominican Republic.
As of the National Hurricane Center's 11 p.m. report, Maria is still a Category 3 storm with winds up to 125 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It's at 21.0° north and 70.2° west. It is now about 90 miles northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and 65 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island. The storm is moving northwest at 8 mph.
Heavy rains, wind and flooding have impacted Puerto Rico. The same goes for the Turks and Caicos Islands, which will feel the brunt of the storm next as tropical storm conditions begin to spread across the islands.
There's a chance the storm could remain out at sea and not strike the U.S. mainland, based on two high pressures, one over the U.S. and another in the Atlantic, and the position of Jose. But that's a long-term prediction that is uncertain at this point based on what the long-term models may or may not indicate.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
-- Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
--Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
-- Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti
Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
-- Central Bahamas
Rip current status for Friday
Jose losing more strength
Outer bands of Jose continue to bring rain and gusty conditions to the coast of southeastern New England late Thursday.
Jose is still a tropical storm but it continues to weaken, according to the latest NHC report. While the storm will continue to produce dangerous surf and rip currents for several more days, it's becoming more unlikely the storm will hit the U.S.
At 11 p.m. Thursday, Jose was at 39.5° north and 68.4° west, about 145 miles south of Nantucket, Mass. The winds are steady at 50 mph and the storm is now moving at 2 mph.
Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches are in effect for parts of Massachusetts.