MIAMI – The National Hurricane Center has just upgraded Maria to Cat 5, as SI's severe weather expert, Mark Michaelsen, predicted to your Ed. privately early this morning when I posted the more cautious, and hopeful, forecast for it only going to Cat 4. Regardless, it's another horrific storm and the US Virgin Islands are in Maria's path, as is Puerto Rico. The GFS (U.S.) model shows Maria making a direct hit early Wednesday morning on St Croix, which was spared the worst of Irma which took a more northerly route last week over the BVIs and St Thomas. Mark and the others say it is still too early to say where Maria will go after Puerto Rico – the two main models widely disagree on Maria's path post Puerto Rico. More on all this on tomorrow's "Tuesdays with TFE" Facebook Live show at 1300 PDT / 1600 EDT over on our SI Facebook page, www.facebook.com/sailingillustratedblog.
Windy.com showing the GFS (USA) weather model's prediction for 0300 Wednesday, with Maria having just passed over St Croix, USVI, packing winds in the 70s gusting higher.