Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Category Five Hurricane Maria batters Dominica, takes PM's roof

Published:Monday | September 18, 2017 | 9:13 PM
Satellite image provided by NASA shows the eye of Hurricane Maria as it nears Dominica.

Category Five Hurricane Maria has torn through the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica leaving a trail of damage and destruction.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has taken to Facebook reporting that he has lost his roof.

"Certainly no sleep for anyone in Dominica. I believe my residence may have sustained some damage," Skerrit posted about 8 p.m. Monday night.

Thirty minutes later, the Prime Minister reported that the situation had worsened.

"My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding," he said.

But within eight minutes, Skerrit said he had been rescued.

"Rough! Rough! Rough!" he posted.

The Associated Press says forecasters have warned that Hurricane Maria might become even stronger as it follows a path that could take it on Tuesday near many of the islands already wrecked by Hurricane Irma and then head toward a possible direct strike on Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

Dominican authorities had closed schools and government offices and urged people to move from dangerous areas to shelters.

In August 2015, Tropical Storm Erika unleashed flooding and landslides that killed 31 people and destroyed more than 370 homes on the small, mountainous island.

In Martinique, authorities ordered people to remain indoors and said they should prepare for cuts to power and water. Schools and non-essential public services were closed.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (260 kph) Monday evening.

It was heading west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).