The center said it was expected to remain an "extremely dangerous" category 4 or 5 hurricane when it passes near or over the Virgin Islands overnight, and Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
The storm ripped off the roofs of houses as it pummeled the island as an extremely risky Category 5 storm, according to The National Hurricane Center.
The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Maria had regained strength, with sustained winds of up to 160mph, as it approached the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, and Anguilla.More news: Theo Starts - Arsenal's Probable 3-4-2-1 Starting XI Koln
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Fox 61 meteorologist Matt Scott said Jose behaved as expected and the impact was minimal.
Judi Buckley, former senator for St Croix Island, traveled to St John from her SC home to help with the Irma relief effort - only to get caught up in Maria.
"It's going to come down again", he said. Earlier this week Maria devastated the tiny nation of Dominica, prompting the prime minister to report on Facebook, "Initial reports are of widespread devastation".
"I'm not sure that Category 5 is one that any of us are prepared for", Trinidad said. It just missed the worst of Irma, which scraped along its north shore, but an estimated 1 million people lost electricity because of its fragile power infrastructure.
The National Hurricane Center forecast cone that we show on WECT products is the official and best resource for storm intensity and track information. "She starts crying and I start crying".