At least 10 Caribbean Islands Deaths: Cat 3 Hurricane Maria Lashes Dominican Republic

by Kim Boateng Posted on September 21st, 2017

Hurricane Maria thrashed parts of the Dominican Republic with heavy rain and high winds as it passed off its east coast on Thursday after making a direct hit on Puerto Rico that caused severe flooding and cut power to almost all the island. Hurricane Maria continues its path towards the Dominican Republic as a category 3 storm, the National Hurricane Center read early on Thursday morning. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 115 mph, with the eye of the storm about 55 miles northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic as of 2 a.m. ET.

Torrential rains continue to fall on Puerto Rico as the storm moves away, and will pass offshore near the Dominican Republic’s northeastern coast later on Thursday morning. It is then expected to move towards the Irma-hit Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday evening and Friday.

At least nine deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Maria after it barreled through Caribbean islands with intense winds and storm surge.

The entire island of Puerto Rico has lost power in the wake of the hurricane, according to the island’s office of emergency management.


Photo: Damages are seen in a supermarket after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico

The storm made landfall Wednesday morning in Puerto Rico as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds after strengthening into one of the most intense hurricanes by central pressure ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.

“We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said.

Maria weakened to a Category 2 storm Wednesday afternoon, but could regain hurricane status by Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The island of Dominica was devastated by Maria, and officials say there is no electricity, running water, or cell phone service in many areas of the island.

Other parts of the Caribbean, including the British Virgin Islands, are still reeling from the deadly and destructive force of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Maria Knocks Out Power In All Of US Territory Of Puerto Rico

All of the US territory of Puerto Rico is without power after it took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria. The hurricane is the strongest to hit the island in over 85 years. It also destroyed hundreds of homes and triggered heavy flooding. The National Hurricane Center said the eye of the storm hit Yabucoa in the southeastern part of the island shortly after 6am, unleashing heavy rain and winds of up to 155 miles per hour. Those winds had weakened to 115mph as it passed back out to sea.

Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico on Wednesday, causing widespread damage and knocking out power to the entire island.

Having made landfall as a category four hurricane, Maria was downgraded to a category three storm as it moved slowly northwest towards the Dominican Republic on Wednesday afternoon.

The NHC said the hurricane continues to carry the risk of dangerous storm surges that will inundate coastal areas.

Emergency officials confirmed that none of the customers of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority had any electricity. Mr Gómez said the hurricane had damaged “everything in it’s path”.


Photo: Hurricane Maria Knocks Out Power In All Of US Territory Of Puerto Rico

The intensity of the storm sparked a state of emergency in Puerto Rico and in the US Virgin Islands. Hurricane warnings were also in place in the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas, as well as parts of the Dominican Republic stretching from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata.

Category 4: Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria made  landfall in Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm on Wednesday (September 20) morning , thrashing the U.S. territory with life-threatening winds and cutting power to thousands. Maria, the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico since 1928, had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph as it made landfall near the town of Yabucoa in the southeast just after 6 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is expected to bring up to 25 inches of rain to Puerto Rico and some 16 inches to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The islands could also see several tornadoes throughout Wednesday.


Photo: Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall in Puerto Rico as category 4 storm

Maria was a Category 5 hurricane — the strongest there is — when it killed one person and injured two others as it hit the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on Monday night. Widespread devastation was also reported on Dominica.

More than 10,000 islanders were in shelters early Monday as thousands of others scrambled to evacuate.

President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency in both territories, and the Coast Guard has moved all its ships, aircraft and personnel out of harm’s way so they can quickly launch rescue missions once the storm passes, officials said.

Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands Brace For Cat 5 Hurricane Maria After Dominica Devastation

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica as a category five storm (the highest level) with winds of 260km/h (160mph). It was briefly downgraded to a category four, but is back to a five as it moves towards Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Hurricane Maria is forecast to approach the islands tonight and tomorrow.

Forecasters say Hurricane Maria poses a “potentially catastrophic” threat to Caribbean islands in its path.

“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” the National Hurricane Center stated in its advisory at 5:00 a.m. ET Tuesday, just two weeks after devastation in many of the same areas caused by Hurricane Irma. Many islands in the path of Maria are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Irma earlier this month

There were reports of “widespread devastation” in Dominica, whose Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit said his house had been devastated. Dominica’s PM Roosevelt Skerrit also said his nation has “lost all what money can buy” after Category 5 Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit  later confirmed that he had been rescued. But the fact that the island nation’s Prime Minister could see the roof fly off his own home highlighted the risks for the people living in the storm’s path.

Hurricane warnings are also in effect for the islands of Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands, with other islands seeing Tropical Storm Warnings and Hurricane Watches.


Photo: Hurricane Maria batters Guadaloupe

Maria is currently located about 65 miles west-northwest of the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, moving west-northwest at about 9 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It says Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands could see water levels rise 6 to 9 feet, “if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.” The Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands could see water levels rise “by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels.”

That’s expected to be accompanied by inches of rainfall – which “will cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.”

Authorities in Puerto Rico are calling for “people in wooden or flimsy homes” to find shelter, The Associated Press reports.

“You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, Puerto Rico’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”

Hurricane Maria Closes In On Dominica As Category 5 Storm

Hurricane Maria is quickly gaining strength barrelling through the constellation of islands that curve through the Caribbean as it closes in on Dominica. In 27 hours, it grew from a Category 1 storm to what the National Hurricane Center called “a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane,” with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour as it raced toward Puerto Rico and the already-pummeled British and United States Virgin Islands.

Some islands still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irma were bracing late Monday for Round 2, closing schools, stores and just about everything else before the storm made landfall.

More than two dozen people were killed by Irma, and on Monday emergency shelters were beginning to fill up on the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica and Montserrat, as well as on St. Kitts and Nevis. Those who chose to stay home were busy boarding up their houses, trimming trees or gathering stockpiles of food and water.

Though Maria is expected to trace a similar path to Hurricane Irma, some of the islands hit hardest by that storm may be spared. Instead, having escaped the wrath of Irma, the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica were expected to bear the initial brunt of Maria. Its eye and “intense inner core” were expected to pass near Dominica over the course of Monday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.

But the already storm-battered islands could be affected in other ways. In addition to being the main sanctuary for those evacuating St. Martin, Guadeloupe has also become the staging ground for the relief effort. If the storm hits hard, it could delay or upend the desperately needed aid going to its neighbor.


Photo: Hurricane Maria Closes In On Dominica As Category 5 Storm

Local authorities across the region have implored residents to take the warnings seriously. Having suffered season after season of hurricanes, they are fearful residents will shrug off yet another storm. The prime minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, addressed the tiny nation Monday morning, asking residents to remain calm but be prepared.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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