Dangerous hurricane Maria upgraded to category 5, approaches Dominica

    19 de septiembre de 2017

    Miami, USA, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Hurricane Maria on Monday became a category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 260 kph (160 mph) as it was heading towards the Caribbean island of Dominica, an island with some 75,000 inhabitants, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), based in Miami, announced.

    According to a NHC bulletin published at 00.00 GMT, the hurricane was 25 km southeast of Dominica Island and 70 km northeast of Martinique, both of which are located in the Lesser Antilles.

    According to the NHC, Maria is moving past the Leeward Islands on Monday night and will be heading towards the northeastern Caribbean on Tuesday and then approaching Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands on Wednesday.

    Populations of the Lesser Antilles are still left in shock from the traumatic experiences of devastating Category-5 hurricane Irma, which left at least 26 dead in the Caribbean and 60 to 80 percent of the properties on the British and US Virgin Islands damaged, as well as in Antigua and Barbuda.

    At the moment, almost all the islands of the Lesser Antilles are under hurricane warning, including Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and Saint Lucia, as well as the US and British Virgin Islands.

    It is still unknown if hurricane Maria will make landfall in the US, but the computer simulations situates the storm's cone and its radius outside the Florida peninsula.

    The provisional death toll from the US southeastern states affected by Hurricane Irma, including Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, amounts to at least 39, while the extent of the widespread property damage could take months to be determined.