Its threat to the U.S. coast diminishing, Tropical Storm Maria might target Bermuda later this week. In the meantime, the up-and-down system has slowed down to a crawl and weakened - again.
At 2 p.m. on Monday, Maria was about 175 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, drifting west at 2 mph with sustained winds of 50 mph. Earlier it had been moving at 9 mph with 60 mph winds.
Ever since Maria emerged six days ago, its intensity has been erratic, at times so weak that it was barely considered a tropical cyclone and at others a robust tropical storm.
In turn, its intensity forecast also has been all over the board; at one time it was predicted to be a catetory 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 105 mph and now is projected to remain a tropical storm with maximum winds of 60 mph.
One reason Maria's intensity forecast has been difficult: All along, the system been rather disorganized, the result of battling wind shear.
"The shear would ease just a bit, allowing Tropical Storm Maria to rebound a little, only to be stifled again," Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for theNational Hurricane Center said.
He added that it's possible the storm might not survive the most recent round of wind shear.
What has remained relatively consistent is the projected path.
Over the next five days, Maria is forecast to gently curve northeast, remaining well east of the Bahamas and Florida along the way. It is projected to either brush or hit Bermuda on Thursday.
The system is expected to produce up to 6 inches of rain in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the northern Leeward Islands through Tuesday.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun