Flash Flood Watch
until SAT 11:00 PM MST, Grand Canyon Country, Coconino Plateau, Yavapai County Mountains, Little Colorado River Valley in Coconino County, Little Colorado River Valley in Navajo County, Little Colorado River Valley in Apache County, Western Mogollon Rim, Eastern Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, Northern Gila County, Yavapai County Valleys and Basins, Oak Creek and Sycamore Canyons, Western Pima County including Ajo/Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tohono O'odham Nation including Sells, Upper Santa Cruz River and Altar Valleys including Nogales, Tucson Metro Area including Tucson/Green Valley/Marana/Vail, South Central Pinal County including Eloy/Picacho Peak State Park, Southeast Pinal County including Kearny/Mammoth/Oracle, Upper San Pedro River Valley including Sierra Vista/Benson, Eastern Cochise County below 5000 ft including Douglas/Wilcox, Upper Gila River and Aravaipa Valleys including Clifton/Safford, White Mountains of Graham and Greenlee Counties including Hannagan Meadow, Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains including Mount Graham, Chiricahua Mountains including Chiricahua National Monument, Dragoon/Mule/Huachuca and Santa Rita Mountains including Bisbee/Canelo Hills/Madera Canyon, Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains including Mount Lemmon/Summerhaven, Baboquivari Mountains including Kitt Peak, Aguila Valley, Northwest Valley, Tonopah Desert, Gila Bend, Buckeye/Avondale, Cave Creek/New River, Deer Valley, Central Phoenix, North Phoenix/Glendale, New River Mesa, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Rio Verde/Salt River, East Valley, Fountain Hills/East Mesa, South Mountain/Ahwatukee, Southeast Valley/Queen Creek, Superior, Northwest Pinal County, West Pinal County, Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, Tonto Basin, Mazatzal Mountains, Pinal/Superstition Mountains, Sonoran Desert Natl Monument, San Carlos, Dripping Springs, Globe/Miami, Southeast Gila County
4

Maria strengthens into Category 5 hurricane

Forecasters say Hurricane Maria has become a Category 5 storm as the eye nears Dominica.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday evening that Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter planes found that Maria had strengthened into a storm with 160 mph (260 kph) winds.

The hurricane is about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica and moving west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy says one key sign of Maria's growing strength is what center forecasters call "the dreaded pinhole eye." Maria's eye has shrunk to 10 miles (15 kilometers) in diameter

A smaller, tighter eye makes the hurricane spin faster. McNoldy says meteorologists saw a similar pinhole eye when Hurricane Wilma set a record for lowest central pressure -- a key measure of storm power -- in 2005.

Officials said Monday that the rationing is necessary to ensure everyone has access to basic items such as batteries, milk, canned foods, flashlights and other things. It does not apply to gasoline or other fuels.

Shelves at many stores were emptying out quickly as people rushed to finalize hurricane preparations. Many posted desperate pleas on social media for help in finding certain items.

Officials said some stores already were imposing their own rationing measures and stressed that more merchandise was scheduled to arrive on Monday to replenish shelves.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Jose continues to head north over the Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast, causing dangerous surf and rip currents. Tropical storm watches have been posted along the coast from Delaware to Massachusetts' Cape Cod.

The ocean is washing over parts of North Carolina's Outer Banks as Hurricane Jose passes well to the east.

The state Transportation Department said in a Facebook post Monday that the affected areas encompass Pea Island, Rodanthe, Avon and Hatteras village on Hatteras Island.

DOT is urging drivers to drive slowly through the water. All roads are passable.

The National Weather Service warns of dangerous rip currents along the coast.