Hurricane Maria has left “widespread devastation” on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said on Tuesday.
Skerrit said “so far, we have lost all what money can buy and replace.
“Roofs were taken off buildings, including residences.
“My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.”
The hurricane downgraded to a category 4 as it headed toward the French archipelago of Guadeloupe, on lockdown since midday Monday.
Maria’s centre was expected to pass within 20 to 30 kilometres of the town of Basse-Terre at about 5 a.m. (0900 GMT), the French weather service — Meteo France — said.
Southern areas of Guadeloupe could see winds gusting at up to 220 kilometres per hour, with sea waves of up to 10 metres height and possible local flooding, Meteo France warned.
The French island of Martinique, south of Dominica, downgraded its alert from top-level violet to grey, but warned residents to remain indoors all the same after Maria passed close by.
An overflight of the island would be carried out at first light to assess damage, and emergency services and utility staff would also start work, the prefecture said.
Maria is expected to remain “extremely dangerous” as it heads towards Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
“Maria made landfall on Dominica around 9:15 p.m. ( 0115 GMT Tuesday ), after being upgraded to a category five hurricane,’’ the Center said.
It forecasted Maria to follow a path similar to Hurricane Irma, which cut a trail of destruction across the northern Caribbean earlier this month.
“My roof is gone, I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane, house is flooding but I have been rescued.
“We do not know what is happening outside, we not dare look out, all we are hearing is the sound of galvanise flying, the sound of the fury of the wind.
“As we pray for its end,” Skerrit said.
Maria could be a direct threat Tuesday to Montserrat and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and by Wednesday to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to the French meteorological service.
All were under a hurricane warning along with the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques.
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