Hurricane Maria bears down on storm-battered eastern Caribbean

Will Maria follow in Irma's footsteps?
Virginia Task Force 2 sending another team to Puerto Rico
Author

20 September, 2017

They'd barely gotten over the destruction of #Hurricane Irma and were still struggling to get even the most basic essentials like food and water and medical attention to the victims of Irma.

This Sept. 14, 2017 photo provided by Guillermo Houwer on Saturday, Sept. 16, shows storm damage in North Sound in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands.

Hurricane Maria is causing major disruption across the Eastern Caribbean and cruise ports in San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands are now closed.

The storm slammed into the small Caribbean island of Dominica Monday night as a Category 5 hurricane with "mind-boggling" devastation, according to the country's prime minister.

Maria weakened briefly into a Category 4 storm, but regained strength as a Category 5 after the 5 a.m. advisory around 5:10 a.m. It wasn't expected to make landfall but tropical storm watches were posted along the coast from DE to Massachusetts' Cape Cod.

In their latest update the Miami-based center said the storm is about 325km (205 miles) southeast of the island of St Croix with sustained winds of 260kph.

"We should treat the approaching hurricane very, very seriously, " Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica warned.

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The storm is "extremely unsafe", according to the NHC, and on Monday evening will likely pass near Dominica.

A hurricane warning is in effect and several shelters are now open.

In preparation, President Donald Trump already approved emergency declarations for both Puerto Rico and the U.S.

Martinique, a French island south of Dominica, suffered power outages but avoided major damage.

However, Puerto Rico's official had a more intense warning for his residents. In Puerto Rico, rainfall is estimated to be 12 to 18 inches, with isolated areas receiving 25 inches. We'll have a better idea of it's path and track over the next couple of days as this storm is still almost 2,000 miles from the First Coast.

Maria is the seventh hurricane in the Atlantic this season. The island will be battered by hurricane-force winds for the "better part of a day" on Wednesday, he told CNN.

According to this model, the eye of the hurricane would remain offshore but Maria could still impact the coast on September 26 and 27. The storm is nonetheless expected to bring tropical storm conditions - including winds, rainfall, and risky surf - to coastal and Mid-Atlantic areas.


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