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HURRICANE MARIA | Category 5 hurricane slams Dominica, now menaces Puerto Rico


Published: Tue, September 19, 2017 @ 1:27 p.m.

ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) — Hurricane Maria smashed into the Caribbean island of Dominica with 160 mph winds, ripping the roof off even the prime minister's residence and causing what he called "mind-boggling" devastation today as it plunged into a Caribbean region already ravaged by Hurricane Irma.

The storm was on a track to wallop Puerto Rico on Wednesday "with a force and violence that we haven't seen for several generations," the territory's governor said.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit sent a series of dramatic posts on his Facebook page as the storm blew over the tiny country Monday night – but then stopped suddenly as phone and internet connections with the country seemed to drop.

"So far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with," Skerrit wrote. "The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go."

And he appealed for international aid.

"We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds."

Fierce winds and rain lashed mountainous Dominica for hours. A police official on the island, Inspector Pellam Baptiste, said late Monday night there were no immediate reports of casualties but it was too dangerous for officers to check conditions.

"Where we are, we can't move," he said in a brief phone interview while hunkered down against the region's second Category 5 hurricane this month.

"The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God," Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of harrowing posts on Facebook.


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