After Irma, powerful Hurricane Maria proceeding towards the Caribbean
Caribbean islands left devastated by Hurricane Irma may have to bear the brunt of another powerful storm. According to an announcement from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Maria may strengthen and make landfall in the islands in 48 hours. Maria is following the same path as Irma and could batter the islands, including Puerto Rico and St. Martin, a second time.
Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat and Martinique and St.Kitts and Nevis have issued hurricane warnings. A hurricane watch is on in Puerto Rico, St Eustatius and Anguilla, St Martin and both the British and US Virgin Islands.
The Powerful Category-five Hurricane Irma recently hit Caribbean islands, including Barbuda, Antigua, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the American states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. It left at least 37 people dead and caused billions of dollars worth of damage to property and infrastructure. The damage in the small Dutch island territory of Sint Maarten alone is estimated to be close to $1.44 billion.
After a visit to the British Virgin Islands post-Irma, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the damage was like something "you see in images from the First World War."
According to the latest update, Maria has sustained winds with a velocity of about 150 km/h. The eye of the storm is currently moving from the east of Martinique towards west-northwest. It is expected to make the first landfall in the Leeward Islands and may pummel Antigua and Barbuda. Dangerous storm surges are predicted. Water levels may rise to dangerous levels.
"Heavy rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," warned the NHC. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," it added.