British marines distribute aid on the British Virgin Islands as Maria approaches.
British marines distribute aid on the British Virgin Islands as Maria approaches. LPhot Joel Rouse / HANDOUT

Strengthened Hurricane Maria causing havoc

PUERTO Ricans were being urged to make their way to shelters yesterday as Hurricane Maria bore down on the island.

Having pummelled the US Virgin Islands territory of St Croix, Maria was headed for a direct hit on the US territory of Puerto Rico.

"No generation has seen a hurricane like this since San Felipe II in 1928,” Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello said.

"This is an unprecedented atmospheric system.”

Maria had already destroyed island nations in its path, including Dominica where it hit as a Category 5 hurricane and left "widespread devastation”, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said.

The storm hit with 257kmh winds, tearing apart Mr Skerrit's house during the evening and leaving the island in tatters.

At least one person was killed on the Caribbean island group of Guadeloupe, reportedly by a falling tree.

The British Virgin Islands imposed a curfew for residents, stalling relief efforts following the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

After crashing through Dominica, the storm weakened to a Category 4 hurricane, but was forecast to strengthen back to Category 5 - the highest rating for hurricanes - before slamming into Puerto Rico. - with INM



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