Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Maria devastates Dominica, heads to Puerto Rico

hurricane Maria
Dominica is the latest Caribbean island to suffer at the hands of a Category 5 hurricane.

The tiny, mountainous, volcanic island - home to about 73,000 people - felt the full force of Maria around 01:00 GMT on Tuesday. Sustained winds were in excess of 250 kilometres per hour (km/h).

This is the first Category 5 hurricane to hit Dominica in records stretching back to 1851. The last time the island suffered a major hurricane was in 1979 when Hurricane David was responsible for the deaths of 40 people.

On the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale, Category 5 winds cause "catastrophic" damage: "A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse … most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months."

There are no wind reports to back up these satellite-derived winds, as wind anemometers across the island ceased reporting before Maria's landfall.

Dominica was extremely unlucky to suffer a direct hit from Maria, as this is a much smaller cyclone than Hurricane Irma, which devastated other parts of the Caribbean earlier in September.

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