Caribbean braces for Hurricane Maria

Aaron Brown
September 20, 2017

The hard-hit Caribbean islands are still reeling from the devastating aftermath from Hurricane Harvey and Irma, the latter of which slammed the Florida coast, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, St. John, and Barbuda in early September.

The Caribbean island of Dominica has been hit by category 5 Hurricane Maria, with fears it could produce a risky storm surge and large waves.

According to the Weather Channel, "tropical storm-force winds will arrive quickly in the Virgin Islands, with hurricane-force winds arriving Tuesday night, continuing into Wednesday morning, particularly in St. Croix".

"Initial reports are of widespread devastation".

Now, some of these same islands in the Caribbean - including the United States and British Virgin Islands and the USA territory Puerto Rico - are facing a new, stomach churning threat: Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Jose is a Category 1 storm cruising up to the north and expected to come very close to the northeastern U.S.

The maximum wind speed of Hurricane Maria is about 260 kilometers per hour (160 miles per hour) or about 70 meters per second.

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It also forecast a maximum potential rainfall of 20 inches (51 centimetres) in the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the USA and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night - conditions that could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has said that the island could receive between 12 and 18 inches of rain, according to CNN. Flash floods and mudslides are also expected.

Maximum sustained winds are near 160 miles per hour (260 km/h) with higher gusts.

The storm, which already battered the small island of Domenica, is moving across the Caribbean Sea and is now forecasted to make a direct hit with Puerto Rico on Wednesday, potentially causing catastrophic damage to an island already without power from Irma. "From that perspective, it's a really tense moment and one that places Puerto Rico in a more precarious situation than before".

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Norma's threat to Mexico's Los Cabos resort area at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula seemed to ease as forecasters said the storm's center was likely to remain offshore.

WIND: Hurricane conditions should continue over Dominica during the next few hours.

Dominica was "shut down" as the storm approached, said Anil Etienne, a spokesperson for Dominica's Office of Disaster Management.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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