‘Mind-bog­gling’ dev­as­ta­tion

Hur­ri­cane Maria smashes Do­minica, now men­aces Puerto Rico


Hur­ri­cane Maria smashed into Do­minica with 160 miles per hour winds, rip­ping the roof off even the prime min­is­ter’s res­i­dence and caus­ing what he called “mind­bog­gling” dev­as­ta­tion Tues­day as it plunged into a Caribbean re­gion al­ready rav­aged by Hur­ri­cane Irma.

The storm was on a track to wal­lop Puerto Rico to­day “with a force and vi­o­lence that we haven’t seen for sev­eral gen­er­a­tions,” the ter­ri­tory’s gov­er­nor said.

Do­minica Prime Min­is­ter Roo­sevelt Sk­er­rit said on his Facebook page that, “ini­tial re­ports are of wide­spread dev­as­ta­tion” and said he feared there would be deaths due to rain-fed land­slides.

“So far the winds have swept away the roofs of al­most ev­ery per­son I have spo­ken to or oth­er­wise made con­tact with,” Sk­er­rit wrote. “The roof to my own of­fi­cial res­i­dence was among the first to go.”

And he ap­pealed for in­ter­na­tional aid: “We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds.”

Maria’s eye roared over the

is­land late Mon­day night. The storm briefly dipped to Cat­e­gory 4 strength early Tues­day be­fore re­gain­ing Cat­e­gory 5 sta­tus.

Fierce winds and rain lashed moun­tain­ous Do­minica for hours. A po­lice of­fi­cial on the is­land, Insp. Pel­lam Jno Baptiste, said late Mon­day night that there were no im­me­di­ate re­ports of ca­su­al­ties but it was too dan­ger­ous for of­fi­cers

to check con­di­tions.

“Where we are, we can’t move,” he said in a brief phone in­ter­view while hun­kered down against the re­gion’s sec­ond Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane this month.

“The winds are mer­ci­less! We shall sur­vive by the grace of God,” Sk­er­rit wrote at the start of a se­ries of in­creas­ingly har­row­ing posts on Facebook.

A few min­utes later, he mes­saged he could hear the sound of gal­va­nized steel roofs tear­ing off houses on the small rugged is­land.

He then wrote that he thought his home had been dam­aged, and added: “Rough! Rough! Rough!”

On the nearby is­land of Mar­tinique, of­fi­cials said about 25,000 house­holds were with­out elec­tric­ity and two small towns with­out wa­ter af­ter Maria roared past.

The head of French civil se­cu­rity, Jac­ques Witkowski, told re­porters that it was too soon to say whether the French de­part­ment of Guadaloupe had fared as well.

Pre­fect Eric Maire, the high­est French of­fi­cial of Guadaloupe, said in a video on Twitter that some roads and homes were flooded and heavy rain ex­pected to con­tinue. He told the pop­u­la­tion to “re­main in­side.”

Au­thor­i­ties in the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Puerto Rico, which faced the pos­si­bil­ity of a di­rect hit, warned that peo­ple in wooden or flimsy homes should find safe shel­ter be­fore the storm’s ex­pected ar­rival there on Wed­nes­day.

“You have to evac­u­ate. Oth­er­wise, you’re go­ing to die,” said Hec­tor Pes­quera, the is­land’s pub­lic safety com­mis­sioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”


Dutch Marines help out the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion in prepa­ra­tion for the ar­rival Hur­ri­cane Maria in Oran­jes­tad, Sta­tia, on the Lee­ward Is­lands.

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