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Maria Becomes Category 2, Puerto Rico Braces for Direct Hit

Maria Becomes Category 2, Puerto Rico Braces for Direct Hit

Hurricane Maria has "devastated" the Caribbean island of Dominica, as the second major Atlantic storm barrels towards Puerto Rico and the British and US Virgin Islands.

Maria is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, the hurricane that devastated the region this month.

Hurricane warnings were posted for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique, with other islands issuing storm warnings or, as in the case of the Irma-hit British Virgin Islands, keeping a close watch on its progress. Hurricane watches were up in Puerto Rico, the USA and British Virgin Islands, the island shared by French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten, St. Barts and Anguilla. Hurricane Jose, Tropical Depression Lee and Tropical Storm Maria each bear watching for their potential impacts to the U.S.

A statement from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that its record-topping winds reached 160 miles per hour when it hit the island nation.

Hurricane Maria is now located about 45 miles west-northwest of Dominica and 235 miles southeast of St Croix - one of the US Virgin Islands.

A high pressure rident is steering the storm tot he west-northwest, forecasters said, which should continue for the next three days.

Jose is capable of producing coastal flooding and pockets of damaging wind from eastern Long Island to coastal MA, its effects are most likely to resemble those of a strong nor'easter - rather than a devastating hurricane.

Lee's maximum sustained winds sputtered to 35 miles per hour, and are expected to further weaken in the coming days.

Forecasters said hurricane conditions should begin to affect parts of the Leeward Islands by late Monday, with storm surge raising water levels by 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 meters) near the storm's center.

US Flies Powerful Warplanes Amid Tensions with North Korea
She added, "Everybody in the worldwide community sees what a big deal it is, but also we know the importance of enforcement". China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea's trade and sends largely free crude oil shipments to the North.

Maria now fits that description, and is expected to remain a major hurricane through the weekend. A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.

There are tropical storm warnings in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Lucia.

Maria yesterday was a Category 1 hurricane but is likely to develop into a Category 3 or 4.

Many scientists are convinced that megastorms such as Irma, and Harvey before it, are intensified by the greater energy they can draw from oceans that are warming as a result of climate change. Farther south, along the New Jersey and DE coastline, the tropical storm watch was dropped Monday night.

Dominica has a total population of 73,000 residents. A 42-strong military resilience team has also been deployed to the British Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose has weakened slightly as it churns north, but is sill threatening "dangerous surf and rip currents" along the US East Coast in the next few days, the hurricane center said.

Officials said 450 shelters will be opened starting this afternoon and warned of possible catastrophic damage and a possible collapse of the "vulnerable" electrical system.

The storm, positioned 240 miles east-northeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, was headed north at 9 mph at 5 a.m. Tuesday.


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