‘Evacuate or die’: Puerto Ricans are told to abandon their homes and a curfew is imposed in the British Virgin Islands as 160mph Hurricane Maria smashes Dominica and the Caribbean

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
By Paul Martin

‘Widespread devastation’ has been reported on the island of Dominica after Hurricane Maria made landfall
Maria hit the small island as a Category 5 storm, briefly went down to Category 4, before elevating again
Authorities on the island have not been able to conduct a full analysis of the damage or possible casualties
Dominica’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skeritt, lost his roof during the storm and had to be rescued
Maria is now headed towards Puerto Rico where it’s expected to hit Wednesday night
‘This is going to be a catastrophic event,’ its governor, Ricardo Rossello, warned
Experts say Maria’s eye is getting smaller – so it’s becoming more powerful
There have been twice as many storms with twice as much power as usual so far this year
And there haven’t been this many Category 3 and above storms in seven years

By JAKE WALLIS SIMONS
DAILYMAIL.COM
19 September 2017

Puerto Ricans have been told to ‘evacuate or die’ after Hurricane Maria laid waste to the island of Dominica on its destructive path across the Caribbean.

Islanders have been warned to find shelter immediately with the howling 160mph winds expected to ‘devastate’ most of the U.S. territory tomorrow.

Frantic attempts are also being made to prepare for the monster storm before it slams into the British Virgin Islands where a curfew has been put in place as rescuers battle to clear the damage already caused by Hurricane Irma.

It comes as experts revealed Maria has developed a dangerous ‘pinhole eye’ producing a more compact center and intensifying its power. It’s still too soon to know whether it poses any threat to the mainland U.S.

Overnight, the storm caused chaos on Dominica and destroyed the house of prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit who had to be rescued. The 44-year-old, who has led the country since 2004, said he had been at the ‘complete mercy of the hurricane’ before making it to safety.

But he later warned the island of 72,000 people has lost ‘all that money can buy’, adding on Facebook: ‘My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.’

On the nearby island of Guadeloupe, footage showed ferocious tree-bending winds whipping through deserted streets and shaking lamp posts when the storm first hit.

Fierce winds and driving rain lashed mountainous Dominica for hours late Monday night. Its winds reached sustained maximum speeds of 160mph as it plowed into the tiny country – and forecasters warned it might become even stronger, the latest blow in the worst hurricane season for seven years.

A police official on the island, Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said late Monday night that there were no immediate reports of casualties but it was too dangerous for officers to do a full assessment as the storm raged outside.

‘Where we are, we can’t move,’ he said in a brief phone interview late Monday night while hunkered down against the region’s second Category 5 hurricane this month.

Prime Minister Skeritt said that once the all-clear was given, he would venture out to see the damage. He said his ‘greatest fear’ was that island residents would awake to word of ‘serious physical injury and possible deaths.’

The initial focus, he said, would be on rescuing trapped people and securing medical aid for the injured.

Maria weakened briefly before dawn Tuesday to a still major Category 4 storm after its rampage over Dominica. But the fluctuation in intensity proved short-lived as a hurricane hunter plane reported the storm had regained its fearsome Category 5 status within hours.

The Rest…HERE

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