Hurricane Maria thrashed parts of the Dominican Republic with heavy rain and high winds as it passed off its east coast on Thursday after making a direct hit on Puerto Rico.
This has caused severe flooding and cut power to almost all the island.
Hurricane Maria has killed at least 10 people as it raged through the Caribbean region, the second major hurricane to do so this month.
It ripped roofs off, almost all structures on the island country of Dominica, where seven people were confirmed dead and the number is expected to climb when searches resume at daybreak.
Maria was ranked a Category four storm, near the top end of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
It went with sustained winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour), when it hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday as the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory in nearly 90 years.
According to the U.S. National Hurricane Centre, it tore roofs from buildings, snapped power lines and turned roadways into torrents laden with debris as it cut a diagonal swath across the island.
“The entire island of 3.4 million people was under a flash flood warning early on Thursday as the storm was forecast to dump 20 to 30 inches of rain on much of Puerto Rico through Friday.’’
The island’s Governor, Ricardo Rossello, said the only fatality immediately reported was a man struck by a piece of lumber hurled by high winds.
“It’s nothing short of a major disaster,” Rossello said in a CNN interview.
He said that it may take months for the island’s electricity to be completely restored.
Earlier, he imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew for the island.
Maria is likely estimated to strengthen over the warm waters as it heads Thursday towards the Turks and Caicos territories, endangering low-lying islands with enormous storm surges.
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