Sources:| Associated Press
The US National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, dropping to a Category 2 storm after raking Puerto Rico and cutting power to the entire island nation.
But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by tomorrow.
An update from the Miami-based centre says a hurricane hunter plane clocked the top sustained winds of the storm at near 175 km/h with higher gusts.
Maria's fierce core was centered about 45 kilometres north-northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and moving to the northwest at 19 km/h.
The powerful storm lashed Puerto Rico earlier today leaving the island completely without power. It is not known when electricity will be restored.
Forecasters say the dangerous storm system will continue moving away from the northwest coast of Puerto Rico in coming hours.
It is then expected to pass offshore of the northeast coast of the Dominical Republic later today.
Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Jose is still kicking up dangerous surf and currents along much of the US Eastern seaboard.