Published: Wed, September 20, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Horrendous Hurricane Maria throttles Dominica; Irma ravaged Caribbean next

Horrendous Hurricane Maria throttles Dominica; Irma ravaged Caribbean next

Category 5 Hurricane Maria is ploughing through the Caribbean amid fears that it could head towards America next week.

Hurricane Maria which was just a hurricane about 24 hours underwent one of the speediest intensification and ended up becoming a Category 5 Hurricane before it hit the Caribbean Island of Dominica wreaking havoc over the region.

The residents of Dominica have "lost all what money can buy and replace" after Hurricane Maria pounded the tiny Caribbean island, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said early on Tuesday.

The hurricane downgraded to a category 4 as it headed toward the French archipelago of Guadeloupe, on lockdown since midday Monday.

A tropical storm warning is in place for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St Eustatius, St Martin, Anguilla, St Lucia and Martinique, meaning some areas already reeling from Hurricane Irma may now face renewed winds of more than 50mph. "Interests in these areas should monitor the progress of Maria and follow any advice given by local officials", the warning concludes. The ports are expecting the possibility of sustained gale force winds greater than 39 mph within the next 24 hours.

That's a sign of an extremely strong hurricane likely to get even mightier, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

Forecasters said the storm would dump up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain across Puerto Rico and whip the USA territory with heavy winds for 12 to 24 hours. The major cruise destinations of St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk are in Maria's path.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, the United States and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques.

The storm's path after it hits Puerto Rico is hard to predict.

Waters are expected to reach 6 to 9 feet above normal levels if the storm surge arrives at high tide in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Central and southern Leeward Islands - 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.

While the intensity of the hurricane may fluctuate over the next day or two, Maria is expected to remain a category 4 or 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the Miami-based NHC said.

Dominica was the first island to feel Maria's force.

This hurricane season in the Atlantic has seen several major storms.

Hurricane Jose is moving up the East Coast but is likely to stay offshore.

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