Hurricane Maria moves away from Caribbean islands

After lashing Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where the scope of the devastation is still unclear, Hurricane Maria began to batter Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday.

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A Category 3 storm, Maria is located 55 miles northeast of Grand Turk Island and about 455 miles southeast of the Bahamas, and moving northwest at 8 mph. the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. Friday advisory.
Forecasters added that the hurricane still has maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.

A tropical storm watch for the central Bahamas was changed to a tropical storm warning as the storm moves in a northwesterly direction — away from Caribbean islands.

A hurricane warming remains in effect for the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands. Water levels are expected to rise for 4-6 feet and destructive waves are anticipated in storm surges in the hurricane warning areas.

Maria is not expected to hit land in the Caribbean, though hurricane-force winds can extend outward up to 60 miles from the center of the storm.