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Hurricane Maria Hits Dominica, Now Menaces Different Islands In Caribbean

ROSEAU, Dominica (CBSNewYork/AP) — Forecasters say probably catastrophic Hurricane Maria is continuing on its course toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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The U.S. Nationwide Hurricane Middle stated the extraordinarily dangerous Class 5 storm is forecast to hit the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

As rains began to lash Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that Maria might hit “with a power and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations.”

“We’re going to lose lots of infrastructure in Puerto Rico,” Rossello mentioned, including that a doubtless island huge power outage and communication blackout might final for days. “We’re going to must rebuild.”

Authorities warned that individuals in wooden or flimsy homes ought to find secure shelter before the storm’s expected arrival Wednesday.

“You must evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public security commissioner. “I don’t know how one can make this any clearer.”

By Tuesday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Heart in Miami stated Maria’s winds had intensified to 175 mph and additional strengthening was possible. At 11 p.m. EST, Maria was centered about 30 miles south-southeast of St. Croix, or 120 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was shifting west-northwest at 10 mph.

Maria’s center was anticipated to cross several miles south of St. Croix late Tuesday on its technique to Puerto Rico, prompting U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp to ask that individuals remain alert.

St. Croix was largely spared the widespread injury attributable to Hurricane Irma on the chain’s St. Thomas and St. John islands simply two weeks in the past. But this time, the island would experience 5 hours of hurricane pressure winds starting about 11 p.m. EST, Mapp stated.

“For people of their houses, I really recommend that you not be in any sort of sleepwear,” he stated during a short press conference late Tuesday. “Make sure you have got your sneakers on. Make certain you have got a jacket round. Something on your head in case your roof should breach. … I don’t actually suggest you be sleeping from eleven o’clock to four (a.m.). … Bear in mind of what’s going on round you.”

The storm pounded the small island of Dominica with catastrophic winds overnight Monday into Tuesday.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said on his Facebook web page that “initial stories are of widespread devastation” and said he feared there can be deaths attributable to rain-fed landslides.

“Our first order of enterprise shall be search and rescue in order that we are able to account for each and every citizen that was on the island throughout this actually devastating hurricane,” Skerrit said.

Maria’s eye roared over the island late Monday evening. The storm briefly dipped to Class four energy early Tuesday earlier than regaining Class 5 status. Fierce winds and rain lashed mountainous Dominica for hours.

The storm knocked out communications for the entire nation, leaving anyone exterior Dominica struggling to find out the extent of harm, though it was clearly widespread. “The state of affairs is de facto grave,” Consul Normal Barbara Dailey mentioned in a telephone interview from New York.

She stated she misplaced contact with the island about four a.m. At that point, officials had realized that 70 p.c of houses had lost their roofs, including her personal.

“I lost every little thing,” she mentioned, adding there had been no phrase on casualties. “As a Class 5 it can be naive to not expect any (accidents) however I don’t know how many,” she mentioned.

The island’s broadcast service was additionally down Tuesday and Akamai Technologies, a company that tracks the standing of the web all over the world, stated most of Dominica’s web service appeared to have been misplaced by midday. The Ross College College of Drugs in Dominica reported a widespread loss of communication on the island, and relations of scholars posted messages on its Fb web page saying that they had been unable to talk to their loved ones since late Monday night because the storm approached.

On the nearby island of Martinique, officials stated about 25,000 households were without electricity and two small towns with out water after Maria roared past.

Hurricane warnings had been posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. A tropical storm warning was issued for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Anguilla.

In San Juan, usually crowded streets and beaches had been empty by Tuesday afternoon as families heading to protected shelter packed up their automobiles and pets or secured windows and doorways round their house to prepare for severe winds anticipated to lash the island for 12 to 24 hours. Almost 2,800 people have been in shelters across Puerto Rico, together with 105 pets, officials stated.

“We’re undoubtedly afraid,” said Erica Huber, a 33-year-previous trainer from Venice, Florida, who moved to Puerto Rico a month in the past together with her 12-12 months-old daughter.

“I’m more frightened concerning the aftermath: Is there going to be sufficient meals and water ” she mentioned.
In outlets across the island, shelves have been bare after individuals crammed purchasing carts with the restricted amount of water, batteries, baby method, milk and other objects they may discover.

Iris Tosado, a sixty four-12 months-old widowed housewife, scanned the practically empty shelves before heading again residence. She and her disabled son deliberate to spend the storm with family members because their dwelling is made from wooden, and she prayed that it wouldn’t be destroyed.

“God, it’s the only thing I have,’” she mentioned. “This isn’t wanting good.”
Maria ties for the eighth strongest storm in Atlantic history, when measured by wind speed. This year’s Irma, which had 185 mph winds, ranks second.

Hurricane middle forecasters stated it “now seems likely” that Maria will still be at Category 5 intensity when it strikes over the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday evening and Puerto Rico on Wednesday, bringing with it “life-threatening” flooding from rain and storm surge.

Forecasters said the storm surge could increase water ranges by 6 to 9 ft close to the storm’s middle. The storm was predicted to deliver 10 to 15 inches of rain across the islands, with more in remoted areas.

“You must evacuate. In any other case, you’re going to die,” Pesquera mentioned. “I don’t know learn how to make this any clearer.”

Rossello stated Puerto Rico had 500 shelters able to taking in up to 133,000 folks in a worst-case state of affairs.

“Complacency worries me proper now,” he mentioned earlier Tuesday. “People may not perceive the magnitude of this hurricane or assume it won’t hit us exhausting. All indications are that this will probably be devastating and catastrophic.”

Rossello also mentioned the Federal Emergency Administration Company was ready to deliver drinking water and assist restore energy instantly after the storm, which could hit as a Category 5 hurricane.

“That is catastrophic in each manner,” stated Roberto Garcia with the Nationwide Weather Service in San Juan. “People must act, and so they must act now. They will now not await a miracle.”

Residents have been stocking up on supplies and boarding up their properties once more. Many areas are still lined in rubble and debris left behind by Irma. They are saying rebuilding might be an enormous activity, but right now the main target is on the speedy menace of Maria.

“When you get to the bottom you’ve nowhere to go however up, however it’s one board, one stick, one log, one brick at a time,” mentioned Irma survivor Cindy Stone.

Here in New York, Linda Vega says she and her husband have been praying for her relations in and round San Juan.

Her uncle was lucky to stock up on primary provides.
“I just hope everybody in Puerto Rico survives this,” she informed CBS2’s Jessica Borg. “He has a lot of water and drugs he acquired, simply in case.”

Jose Morales says his household in Arecibo, Puerto Rico ran out in a panic a few days in the past to get what they need to get by.

“They received generators, they purchased loads of water, canned food, Pampers,” he stated.
However Morales says he is aware of it won’t be enough to sustain a direct hit from Maria and its aftermath.

“We simply must pray that everybody comes out of it alright,” he mentioned.
1000’s of families are still dealing with the consequences of Hurricane Irma, with no lights and operating water. Retailer shelves are naked and folks can’t buy necessities.

Individuals are busy making cash donations to try to get provides to these in want as quickly as attainable.
Melody Capote is the Deputy Director of the Caribbean Cultural Heart in New York Metropolis. She has a home in Puerto Rico and prays for individuals who could lose theirs.

“Given the economic difficulties Puerto Rico is going through, and the varied communities which have it, and others that don’t have it,” she mentioned. “The communities that do are gonna suffer that much more.”

Rita Porto says she’s praying her cousin has found shelter, understanding she’ll possible spend weeks there if Maria’s wrath is as highly effective as projected.

“It’s scary, it’s scary,” she mentioned.
The National Hurricane Center predicts a harmful storm surge and violent waves as the water rises as much as 11 toes above regular levels. The storm was predicted to bring 10 to 15 inches of rain throughout the islands, with extra in isolated areas.

In the meantime in the U.S. Virgin Islands, territorial Gov. Kenneth Mapp said Tuesday could be “a very, very lengthy night time.”

St. Thomas and St. John are still stunned from a direct hit by Irma, which did in depth harm and brought about 4 deaths on the two islands.

Members of the family in New York say all they will do now could be just wait to see how ferocious Maria is and hope they’ll at the least get in touch with their cherished ones after the storm hits to see if they’re okay. All Rights Reserved.

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