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Hurricane Maria impacts Caribbean as a major storm

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UPDATE: Wed., Sept. 20

Click for Hurricane Maria update for Sept. 20 from Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)’s website.

UPDATE: Tues., Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m.

Hurricane Maria made landfall on Dominica last night as a Category 5 storm and is described as one of the fastest intensifying storms in history. Puerto Rico is expected to have landfall tomorrow. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Anguilla.

Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Maria is forecast to remain an extremely dangerous category 4 or 5 hurricane while it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to the NOAA National Hurricane Center. Most of the British and U.S. Virgin islands are recovering from Hurricane Irma and may face more damage as winds of 150 mph are expected to hit piles of debris, roofless homes and damaged trees.

The majority of the computer models for the storm’s future track show the hurricane then turning north toward the Bahamas.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted on his Facebook page as the storm hit last night. From inside his home, at about 9 p.m., he posted, “Rough! Rough! Rough!” and two hours later he wrote that the high winds had blown off the roof.

During the early hours of this morning he posted, “So far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.

“My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured. It is too early to speak of the condition of the air and seaports, but I suspect both will be inoperable for a few days. That is why I am eager now to solicit the support of friendly nations and organisations with helicopter services, for I personally am eager to get up and get around the country to see and determine what’s needed.”

Photo of Dominica after Hurricane Maria hit on Sept. 18.. PHOTO PROVIDED

NOTE: An imposter Facebook page has been created in the prime minister’s name. His official page is Facebook.com/SupportRooseveltSkerrit and the government website is www.opm.gov.dm.

Click to monitor the NOAA National Hurricane Center’s forecast.

Click for a report on Hurricane Maria in The Telegraph.

UPDATE: Mon., Sept. 18

Islands in the Caribbean are expected to be impacted by Hurricane Maria according to the National Hurricane Center. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique.

“Significant strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane before it moves through the Leeward Islands,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest update.

Other areas expected to be impacted include:

A tropical storm warning is in effect for:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Saba and St. Eustatius
  • St. Lucia

A hurricane watch is in effect for:

  • Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Saba and St. Eustatius
  • St. Maarten
  • St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
  • Anguilla

A tropical storm watch is in effect for:

  • Barbados
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Please monitor this storm, and others, at National Hurricane Center.

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Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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