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    Maria to threaten lives, property in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos

    By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    September 22, 2017, 3:14:38 PM EDT

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    Beyond Puerto Rico, major Hurricane Maria will have a direct hit on parts of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos to end the week.

    After causing devastation and great risk to lives in Puerto Rico on Wednesday and damage in the Dominican Republic on Thursday Maria will threaten the smaller islands farther to the north into Saturday

    How severe impacts are in the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas from Maria will depend on how much restrengthening occurs and how close the hurricane tracks.

    Static Maria Track Factors Early Next Week

    As soon as Maria moved away from Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, the hurricane strengthened once again, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

    Maria was a strong Category 3 storm as of early Friday morning.

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    Major damage and great risk to lives is likely in the Turks and Caicos from high winds, heavy seas and torrential rain.

    Static Maria Impact Severity 3 pm

    Inundation and wind damage could approach that of Irma from about two weeks earlier. Damage to infrastructure, beaches and dwellings from Irma will make these islands very vulnerable.

    Static Irma Maria Comparison 3 pm

    "Wind gusts of 80-100 mph (130-160 km/h) are likely in the Turks and Caicos with rainfall averaging 4-8 inches (100-200 mm)," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

    Coastal inundation in the southeastern islands will average 3 to 6 feet (1-2 meters) with the greatest rise in ocean water around the Turks and Caicos.

    The magnitude of the wind, seas and rain will gradually diminish from east to west over the Bahamas with Maria taking a north-northwest track.

    "Due to Maria's growing size, the wind field around the hurricane might extend far enough west to bring much of the Bahamas tropical-storm-force winds Friday night and Saturday, along with a very rough and dangerous surf," Kottlowski said.

    Static Maria Surf Impact Bahamas

    However, at least some impact related to rough seas and gusty winds is likely in the Bahamas, including the islands of New Providence and Andros.

    "Due to the anticipated track, the islands farthest west, such as New Providence and Andros, will be largely sheltered from the Maria's worst effects," Kottlowski said.

    Most of, and perhaps all of, the rain associated with Maria will stay east of New Providence and Andros islands.

    Beyond the Bahamas, interests from Bermuda to the Atlantic coast of the United States from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada, should monitor the progress of Maria.

    The hurricane is forecast to move north of the Bahamas, but remain offshore of the U.S. on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

    Maria may remain at sea or be drawn onshore during the middle to latter part of next week.

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