Maria 'rapidly intensifies' to major hurricane

Andrew Cummings
September 19, 2017

On Tuesday, Maria is predicted to mostly pass through a patch of the Caribbean free of islands before potentially closing in on St. Croix, now under a hurricane warning, late in the day or at night.

Expected rainfall on other islands in the eye of the storm could cause "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides", the NHS said.

The UK is also leading the way in the long-term reconstruction of islands hit by Hurricane Irma.

Norma had winds of about 50 mph (85 kph) and it was centered about 175 miles (280 kilometers) southwest of Cabo San Lucas.

Maria 'rapidly intensifies' to major hurricane

Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris is scheduled to address the nation today as the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis prepares for Hurricane Maria. Maria is also projected to bring up to 20 inches of rain in some areas of the territory, and a more sustained 6-12 inches throughout the islands. Ricardo Rosselló said Sunday that the storm posed a "serious menace" to the island. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kph). He suggested that for residents who choose their homes over an emergency shelter during the storm, they might consider climbing into a bathtub and pulling a mattress over them to stay safe.

More than 100 high-risk prisoners escaped on the islands after a prison breach during Hurricane Irma, prompting London to send Royal Marines and police officers to help restore law and order.

The centre of the storm, described by the NHC as "potentially catastrophic", passed nearly directly over Dominica, on a track that would put it over Puerto Rico by tomorrow, according to the agency's latest bulletins.

Maria went from a tropical storm to a Category 5 - the highest level on the scale used by meteorologists - in just 30 hours.

The Dominican Republic government has issued a hurricane watch from Isla Saona to Puerto Plata, and a tropical storm watch west of Puerto Plata to the northern Dominican Republic-Haiti border.

Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center now show Maria barreling into Puerto Rico on Wednesday, and the island is expected to experience 12 to 18-inches of rain from the storm. According to the Associated Press, 70,000 people in Puerto Rico are still without power from Hurricane Irma.

"This storm promises to be catastrophic for our island", he said.

Farther north, long-lived Hurricane Jose continued to head northward off the U.S. East Coast, causing unsafe surf and rip currents.

Jose was centered about 230 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was in a stationary position.

The surf remains rough along the New Jersey shore and there's a chance for some coastal flooding because of Jose.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee weakened into a tropical depression far out in the Atlantic and Hurricane Otis became a tropical storm far out in the Pacific.

Other reports by iNewsToday