Hurricane MARIA continued moving west-northwest over the Caribbean Sea, strengthening. Its center passed south of St. Croix island (US Virgin islands) early in the morning of 20 September. It then continued moving towards Puerto Rico as a category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 270 km/h.
MARIA is forecast to make landfall along Puerto Rico, near Yabucoa city at around 12 UTC on 20 September. It may then cross the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic on 21 September. Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge could also affect Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas over 21-24 September.
Official reports mentioned that, as of 20 September, at least two people were killed in Guadeloupe island, while hundreds of people have been evacuated and hundreds of houses destroyed in Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique islands.
Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) was activated on 19 September by the European External Action Service (EEAS) following a request by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.