Hurricane Maria cripples Dominica as it churns toward Puerto Rico
- Hurricane preparations “should be rushed to completion,” forecasters say
- Hurricane Maria is the strongest storm on record to make landfall in Dominica
Hurricane Maria has pounded Dominica with “widespread devastation” as it barrels toward St. Croix and threatens catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico.
Hurling winds of 160 mph (257 kph), Maria shredded the Dominica Prime Minister’s house overnight and left much of the island — population 73,000 — in ruins.
“Initial reports are of widespread devastation,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook early Tuesday.
“So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is … news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.”
A few hours earlier, the Prime Minister posted, “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.”
Maria is now the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in Dominica, a former French and British colony with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and agriculture.
Now, it’s taking aim on Puerto Rico and Islands already crippled by Hurricane Irma.