Hurricane Maria was ugraded to a powerful Category 5 and “potentially catastrophic” storm Monday evening, with sustained winds over 160 mph, just before it slammed into the independent Caribbean island of Dominica as it carved a terrifying path similar (though not exact) to Hurricane Irma less than ten days ago.
“Hurricane conditions should be spreading across Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique during the next few hours,” the National Hurricane Center stated in a Monday evening update, “with tropical storm conditions already occurring over portions of the Leeward Islands. Hurricane conditions should spread through the remainder of the hurricane warning area tonight through Wednesday.”
On social media, dramatic posts from Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who said his roof was gone and that his home was flooding, spoke to the intensity of the storm and the frightening scenes as the winds and water pounded the island:
Commenting on how quickly the storm built strength from earlier in the day, meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus called it “one of the fastest intensifying hurricanes in history” and said, “Wow. Heaven help those in Dominica tonight.”
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