Where is Dominica? Island 'brutally hit' by Hurricane Maria

More Trouble In The Tropics

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says a hurricane hunter plane checking on Maria after it pounded that small Caribbean island says the storm strengthened anew early Tuesday and again has top sustained winds of 160 miles per hour. Forecasters expect it to continue to strengthen during the next 24 to 36 hours.

Hurricane Maria has already caused major devastation on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

The hurricane is now moving west-north-west at about 9mph and is due to approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Now, the latest update about Hurricane Maria has upgraded the the hurricane to Category 4 storm and is taking aim at Puerto Rico, which managed to narrowly escape the worst of Irma's impact. Most of the damage suffered was on the islands of St. Thomas and St. John.

After returning to Virginia Beach over the weekend from aiding in hurricane relief efforts in multiple areas, Virginia Task Force 2 is gearing up to head back to Puerto Rico to help again with hurricane recovery.

The U.S. territory on Monday imposed rationing of basic supplies including water, milk, baby formula, canned foods, batteries, flashlights and other items.

Media Folder Media Root
Media Folder Media Root

The National Hurricane Center posted that Maria now has maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour and will begin impacting Puerto Rico overnight. It was centred about 195 kilometres east-southeast of Dominica - or 135 kilometres east of Martinique - and heading west-northwest at 19 kph.

Areas including Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, British and US Virgin Islands, along with areas of Puerto Rico, Culebra as well as Vieques.

The NHC said the British Virgin Islands were at risk of being hit by a risky storm surge with destructive waves raising the water level up to 9ft (2.7m). "As we pray for its end!"

Dominica was battered by winds of 160mph on Monday night when Maria made its first landfall on the former British colony.

Authorities in the islands are asking people to remain indoors and prepare for power outages and a cut in water supply. Schools and non-essential public services were closed.

St. Croix was largely unscathed during Hurricane Irma, which hit the islands on September 6.

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