Above: the projected path of Maria
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Hurricane Maria pummeled the island of St Croix early Wednesday before making landfall in Puerto Rico.
The eye of Maria was located over Eastern Puerto Rico at 8 AM on Wednesday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour.
The extent of damage in St Croix is not yet clear.
Maria’s eye was forecast to continue to move across Puerto Rico this morning and emerge off the northern coast by this afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center said storm surges would lead to major flooding, with water expected to reach between six and nine feet above ground in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands if peak surged occurred at high tide.
A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques and the portion of the Dominican Republic between Cabo Engano and Puerto Plata, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.
The storm had already caused significant damage in Dominica that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit called “mind-boggling.”
Although the extent was not yet clear, there were unconfirmed reports of six deaths on the island, which was now experiencing a communications blackout.
Guadeloupe was also hit hard, with at least one dead and two people missing and widespread flooding.
Neighboring Martinique had what officials termed limited damage, however.
It’s the second severe hurricane to hit the Caribbean this month, after Hurricane Irma devastated much of the Virgin Islands, St Maarten and St Barth.