Maria destroys homes, triggers flooding in Puerto Rico

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Hurricane Maria "reintensified" into a category five storm as it swept towards British overseas territories already battered by Irma yesterday.

Maria arrived near Yabucoa, whipping the island with winds of 155 miles per hour, just 2 miles per hour shy of Category 5 strength.

As of 11 a.m. ET on Monday (Sept. 18), Hurricane Maria, which rapidly strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 120 mph (195 km/h), was just a few hours from numerous Caribbean islands that were heavily damaged during Hurricane Irma, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). "Slow weakening is expected after the hurricane emerges over the Atlantic north of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic".

Potentially catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Maria is lashing the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with rain.

Puerto Rico has sent a lot of aid to the US and British Virgin Islands, which Irma hit much harder, she said.

Tropical storm Jose is moving off with little impact except some rain and wind in CT. These islands can expect 6 to 9 feet of storm surge, which is often the biggest threat to life and property from a hurricane.

Puerto Rico, a United States territory of about 3.4 million people, avoided a direct hit from Irma, but the storm knocked out power for 70 per cent of the island, and killed at least three people.

Water cascades through the Four Corners intersection on St. Thomas's north side
Water cascades through the Four Corners intersection on St. Thomas’s north side

Maria is likely finishing up an eye wall replacement cycle, the hurricane center said.

The impact on the USA territory is expected to be devastating, forecasts said.

More than 60 percent of the island was without electrcity.

Maria also roared across Dominica earlier on Tuesday, causing widespread damage and knocking out virtually all communication towers.

The National Hurricane Center forecast cone that we show on WECT products is the official and best resource for storm intensity and track information.

"I'm not sure that Category 5 is one that any of us are prepared for", Trinidad said. It urged residents to stay indoors and take shelter in their most secure room.

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