Monster storm slams into Dominica as it carves a path of destruction toward the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
(ANTIMEDIA) — Hurricane Maria made landfall Monday night around 9:15 p.m. local time on the small Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm with sustained winds over 160 mph. The storm grew from a Category 1 to Category 5 hurricane in only 20 hours, the second fastest strengthening on record.
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I'm sorry, but THIS. IS. INSANE. Hurricane Maria was a CAT 1 storm this AM…and now strengthened to a Category 5! This is less than a DAY! pic.twitter.com/jxWakzznSD
— Lindsey Slater (@LindseySlaterTV) September 19, 2017
Dominica has experienced at least 3 hours of sustained winds of 260 KM/H with gusts in excess of 315KM/H. https://t.co/jNAuQUhyHJ
— TTWeatherCenter (@TTWeatherCenter) September 19, 2017
— Philippe Papin (@pppapin) September 19, 2017
Hurricane Maria is moving west northwest at about 10 mph and has its sights on Guadeloupe next, a French territory, and then Montserrat, a British territory. The storm is expected to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a Category 4 or 5 hurricane on Wednesday, according to the latest public advisory. In anticipation of catastrophic flooding, the U.S. Coast Guard is preparing for search-and-rescue missions.
Forecasters warn of “potentially life-threatening” storm surges that could raise water levels by up to nine feet while bringing 10 to 15 inches of rain across the islands, with even more in isolated areas.
— Frenesi Radio (@frenesiradio) September 19, 2017
The prime minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, used his Facebook account to describe, in real time, his own rescue from his damaged home on the island.
My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.
“My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains,” he wrote after being rescued.
Hurricane Maria is the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the island of Dominica in recorded history.
Roosevelt Skerrit then spoke to TeleSUR about the devastation:
“Please tell the world that Dominica has been devastated … In the morning we will know how many dead there are … We were brutally hit.”
President Donald Trump has already declared states of emergency in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. If Hurricane Maria sustains its current strength, it could be the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years.
Hurricane warnings remain in effect for:
- St Kitts & Nevis
- US Virgin Islands
- British Virgin Islands
- Puerto Rico
Between now and Thursday, the US National Hurricane Center predicts rainfall totals across the Caribbean to be:
- Central and southern Leeward Islands: 10 to 15 inches (25-38cm), isolated 20 inches (50cm).
- US and British Virgin Islands: 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.
- Puerto Rico: 12 to 18 inches, isolated 25 inches.
- Northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla: 4 to 8 inches, isolated 10 inches.
- Windward Islands and Barbados: 2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches.
- Eastern Dominican Republic: 4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches.
Now that the storm is back over open water, Maria’s eyewall is quickly reorganizing.
— Mike Hamernik (@MikeHamernik) September 19, 2017
The National Hurricane Center has just given a video update on the “potentially catastrophic” Hurricane Maria as it approaches Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
— Natl Hurricane Ctr (@NWSNHC) September 19, 2017
The fate of Dominica, home to 72,000 people, is currently unknown.