Hurricane Maria Escalates to Category 4, Evacuation Orders Issued

September 18, 2017Sep 18, 2017

Over the last 24 hours, the strength of Hurricane Maria has doubled. As of Monday afternoon, it has winds up to 125 mph and is heading toward Puerto Rico.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Maria is expected to make landfall around 8 p.m. ET. It will hit the northeast Caribbean's Leeward Islands, in both Dominica and Martinique. 

After, it is projected to head toward Puerto Rico, which was already devastated from Hurricane Irma. For the first time in 85 years, the island is reportedly expected to be directly hit by a Category 4 hurricane. 

The governor has issued a state of emergency. The landfall is likely to take place on Wednesday morning.

Officials reported that 450 shelters will be opened in preparation for the storm. Public Security Secretary Hector Pesquera warned everyone in dangerous areas to evacuate now.

He said, "Flood-prone areas must be abandoned. If not, you will die."

Issa Alexander evacuated to Puerto Rico when Irma destroyed his home in the British Virgin Islands. Now, he is bracing for more devastation and praying that his family left in the British Virgin Islands are kept safe.

He told CNN, "I'm hoping that Maria doesn't come, but I don't know. I don't even know if they know that (Maria) is coming. I can only hope that the same spirit that everybody has- the same God that helped everybody to survive is still looking over them."

Thus far, it appears that Maria will stay away from US mainland. 

Please be praying for everyone in the path of Hurricane Maria. Keep checking for updates as we receive them. For other breaking news, read our latest article about the famous country musician who rescued two teens after Hurricane Irma.

Next: A Famous Country Music Star Rescued Two Teens After Hurricane Irma Sep 18, 2017