Hurricane Maria betters Dominica, heads to Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria betters Dominica, heads to Puerto Rico
# 19 September 2017 18:06 (UTC +04:00)

Hurricane Maria is headed toward Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands Tuesday after it battered the island of Dominica overnight, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

The "extremely dangerous" storm will arrive on the island by Wednesday with 160 miles per hour (260 kilometers per hour) mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The Category 5 hurricane, which is passing over the Caribbean islands just two weeks after Hurricane Irma paved a deadly and similar deadly destructive path there, caused "extensive damage" in Dominica, according to the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

"My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains,” Skerrit posted on Facebook late Tuesday.

Authorities have yet to published information about the damage but Skerrit pleaded for help from other countries and organizations as the storm hit the tiny island and tore the roof off his residence.

"Initial reports are of widespread devastation". Skerrit said. “We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds.”

The governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello declared a state of emergency late Monday as that island braced for "an unprecedented situation”, he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered federal assistance to supplement the local response effort in Puerto Rico.

The National Hurricane Center forecast flash floods in Puerto Rico as water levels could rise to 9 feet (2,74 meters).

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," the center said.

Authorities on the island tried ot drive home the point with a dire warning.

"People living in flood areas have to evacuate them … Otherwise, they will die," Public Safety Commissioner Hector Pesquera said at a news conference.

About 450 shelters will be open Tuesday, he said. The government of Puerto Rico also planned food supply to feed 240,000 people for 20 days.

Meanwhile, hurricane warnings have also been issued for many other islands, including St. Kitts, Nevis, and Guadeloupe.