Published: Tue, September 19, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Hurricane battered Leeward Islands face another storm threat

Hurricane battered Leeward Islands face another storm threat

On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move near Dominica and the adjacent Leeward Islands during the next few hours, over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea the remainder of tonight and Tuesday, and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday night and Wednesday.

President Donald Trump declared a federal emergency in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto as Hurricane Maria bore down on the Caribbean on Monday.

Right now, Maria has maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour.

Maria is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the United States and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night; and 2 to 4 inches for the northern and central Windward Islands.

It's still Tropical Storm Maria for now, but that's likely to change later today, as the storm moves closer to the Leeward Islands.

Hurricane warnings are now in effect for the British and US Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat. He has been extremely outspoken in finding ways to help gather more attention toward the U.S. Virgin Islands in hopes of garnering more aid to the situation. Some projections have the hurricane heading to Florida, but this far ahead it's tough to predict exactly what the storm will do with accuracy.

If Maria strikes the island as forecast, it will be "more risky than Hugo and Georges", he said.

If it continues on its current path, it is expected to hit the USA territory by Wednesday.

Rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

"We want to alert the people of Puerto Rico that this is not an event like we've ever seen before", Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told reporters. Since Aug. 25, the USA has suffered an estimated $143 billion in damage from Texas flooding caused by Harvey and damage to Florida by Irma, according to Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

Warm waters are fueling the storm, which is expected to attain hurricane status by late Monday, forecasters said.

The center points to the likelihood of "direct impacts" on New England, but adds that it would take only a slight deviation of the storm to increase the storm's effects along the coast from DE northward.

Another hurricane, Jose, is also churning in the Atlantic and has spawned tropical storm warnings for part of the US East Coast.

Separately, Jose, a Category 1 hurricane, was located about 280 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, as of early Monday, and moving north with winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the NHC.

The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

The eye of Jose, with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (145 kph), should remain off the US East Coast, the NHS said.

Up to five inches (13 cm) of rain could fall over parts of the area, and the storm could bring risky surf and rip currents as well.

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