Hurricane Maria weakens to Category 3 as it moves over Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Maria has weakened slightly to a Category 3 major hurricane after crashing across Puerto Rico and its center is now moving offshore of the island’s northwest coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm is slowly starting to move away from Puerto Rico with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph (185 kph). Little change in strength is forecast over the next 48 hours.

The Miami-based center says Maria was centered at 2 p.m. Wednesday about 15 miles (20 kilometers) west of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It’s moving to the northwest at 12 mph (19 kph). It’s expected to pass offshore of the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic late Wednesday and Thursday.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Jose’s outer rainbands are approaching southern New England’s coast. The hurricane center says dangerous surf and rip currents will affect much of the U.S. East Coast for days. Jose, a former hurricane, was about 140 miles (230 kilometers) south-southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts with top sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph).