The “potentially catastrophic” hurricane Maria is headed to Puerto Rico

The “potentially catastrophic” category 5 hurricane Maria is approaching the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km / h), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

Maria, who landed last night on the Caribbean island of Dominica causing major damage, is 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of Guadalupe and 170 miles (275 kilometers) southeast of Saint Croix (US Virgin Islands), reported the NHC in its bulletin of 12.00 GMT today.

It moves west-northwest with a speed of translation of 9 miles per hour (15 km / h) and, according to a probable path pattern, the “Mary’s eye will move today on the northeast of the Caribbean and will approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight and Wednesday, “said this institution based in Miami.

Both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have already suffered from Irma’s strength just a few days ago, a powerful category 5 hurricane that killed 26 people in the Caribbean and a wake of destruction in Barbuda, San Martin, northern Cuba and the cays and southwest Florida.

Maria will experience “fluctuations in intensity over the next two days,” but will remain an “extremely dangerous category 4 or 5 hurricane as it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” meteorologists said.

Maria landed in Dominica at 21:15 local time on Monday (01.15 GMT Tuesday) with winds of up to 260 kilometers per hour as a Category 5 hurricane, the maximum on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

A hurricane warning is maintained for Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques; as well as a hurricane watch for Saba and Saint Eustatius, St. Maarten, Anguilla and Martinique.

“Dangerous cyclonic swells” are expected along with “large destructive waves” that raise water levels between 7 and 11 feet (2 and 3 meters) above normal levels, which could cause “normally dry areas near the coast flood. ”

María could produce rain accumulations of between 10 and 15 inches in the center and south of the Leeward Islands (Lesser Antilles), the US Virgin Islands and British and in Puerto Rico between 12 and 18 inches (30 and 45 centimeters).

The “tidal waves originated by Mary are affecting the Lesser Antilles” and could generate “conditions of hangover and marine currents dangerous to human life”.

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