Dominica's prime minister rescued in midst of Category 5 Hurricane Maria

Ross Houston
September 19, 2017

"Maria is likely to affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Tuesday evening as a unsafe major hurricane", the center said, adding that Maria could bring torrential rains that could lead to deadly flash flooding and mudslides.

"The Dominican economy has been dependent on agriculture - primarily bananas - in years past, but increasingly has been driven by tourism as the government seeks to promote Dominica as an "ecotourism" destination", the factbook said.

"This is not a system that will linger very long".

Puerto Rico, an island of about 3.4 million inhabitants, opened shelters and began to dismantle construction cranes that could be vulnerable to Maria's high winds. Now those evacuees and native Puerto Ricans are bracing for another powerful hurricane.

Hurricane Maria

Up to five inches (13 cm) of rain could fall over parts of the area, and the storm could bring unsafe surf and rip currents as well.

Barry University said it chartered a private plane to carry students and staff from its St. Croix facility to Florida in preparation for Maria. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. "This is going to be a catastrophic event". The storm was predicted to bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimetres) of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas. If Maria maintains at least Category 4 strength by the time it reaches Puerto Rico, it will be the strongest storm to directly hit the island in 85 years.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said officials had prepared about 450 shelters with a capacity for almost 68,000 people - or even 125,000 in an emergency. The storm will remain a category 4 storm and perhaps even strengthen to a category 5 over the next few days.

Dutch ships Zeeland and Pelikaan, which have been ferrying humanitarian goods from Curacao in recent days, have been grounded on the Dutch island for safety until Maria passes, the navy said on Facebook.

He's terrified for relatives still in the British Virgin Islands - especially because the lines of communication are still down.

Trump issued an emergency declaration for the US Virgin Islands.

Hurricane warnings were posted for the USA and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.

"Where we are, we can't move", he said in a brief phone interview while hunkered down against the region's second Category 5 hurricane this month. However, they will see tropical storm to hurricane force winds once again. A tropical storm warning was issued for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Anguilla. One military team has been deployed to the British Virgin Islands.

Chris Austin, head of the UK's Joint Task force, said: "We are planning for the unexpected, we are planning for the worst". The HMS Ocean is set to arrive in the area at week's end with 60 tons of government supplies.

Meanwhile farther north in the Atlantic of the eastern coast of the U.S., Hurricane Jose continues its march forward.

"We're in hurricane alley, so we've had other storms, but nothing like this", Jones said, referring to Irma, which was one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded and which killed more than 80 people on Caribbean islands and the USA mainland.

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