Hurricane Maria has caused widespread damage in its wake in Dominica and Puerto Rico.
There have been 22 deaths so far due to the storm.
Hurricane Maria is the second Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. It formed out of a tropical wave on September 14th, 2017. This will be the third hurricane to hit the Leeward Islands this season. It made landfall on Dominica as a Category 5 hurricane. It is slated to hit Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. This is the strongest hurricane in 85 years to hit the US territory of Puerto Rico.
National Hurricane Center (NHC) has said that the wind speeds caused by the hurricane have reached a record 160 miles per hour. According to Dominica authorities, the hurricane has caused devastating destruction across the region. Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wrote on Facebook, “Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far, we have lost all what money can buy and replace. 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."
Hurricane Maria is currently a Category 3 storm and according to weather estimates, it is heading towards Turks & Caicos and southeastern Bahamas. According to authorities, so far 22 deaths have been confirmed. This includes 15 deaths in Dominica, 3 in Haiti and 1 in Puerto Rico. In just 24 hours, the storm resulted in 40 inches of rain.
Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the death toll is likely to rise as there are at least 16 in Dominica who are missing. He said, “We have many deaths, but it is a miracle that we do not have hundreds of deaths in the country.”
Puerto Rico has been considerably damaged by the hurricane. Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico’s governor said, “Devastation – it’s everywhere. It’s total devastation. Now that the sun has come up, it is the time to assess all of the damages.” Authorities have revealed the damage is so potent that Puerto Rico might be out of power for months. Currently, there are over 12,000 people living in shelters as their homes have been damaged and hospitals are running on generators. Two hospitals have been destroyed. People also don’t have access to drinking water.
Puerto Rico has not witnessed a storm this strong since 1928.
The storm has weakened down to Category 3 but still poses a big threat to Turks & Caicos. It is now witnessing sustained winds of 125 mph.
Our assessment is that Maria is a catastrophe that’s scarred Puerto Rico for months and years. There have been bigger storms than Maria in the world but what makes this hurricane so damaging is the direct hit on high populated areas. This is comparable to a medium sized tornado passing through an entire country. The devastating effect is primarily due to the massive amount of rain that has drenched Puerto Rico.