By the Caribbean Journal staff
Hurricane Maria made landfall on the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica on Monday night as a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour, according to the NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.
The storm had already caused “significant damage to structures” in Dominica.
“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,” said Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
Skerrit had posted on Facebook that his home lost its roof and then flooded, although he was eventually rescued.
“We do not know what is happening outside. We not dare look out. All we are hearing is the sound of galvanize flying. The sound of the fury of the wind. As we pray for its end!” he posted during the storm.
The storm brought immense winds and dangerous storm surges that could raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels, along with as much as 20 inches of rain.
Maria was about 85 miles west of Guadeloupe and about 170 miles southeast of St Croix on Tuesday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour.
The storm was moving west-northwest at around 9 miles per hour, with the eye of Maria expected to approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Hurricane warnings were in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St Eustatius, St Maarten, Anguilla, St Lucia and Martinique.
The eye of Maria was expected to move over the northeastern Caribbean sea on Tuesday and then approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Some fluctuations are expected in the next day or two, according to the National Hurricane Center, but Maria is forecast to remain an extremely dangerous storm as it heads toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.