Dominica is at Risk.

As hurricane season is in full swing, it’s time for the Caribbean to once again brace for a damaging storm. This time around, Hurricane Maria is about to touch down in Dominica as a Category 5 storm.

It is hard to understand the type of damage a Category 5 storm can cause. To help illustrate, here are a few characteristics that determine the classification of hurricanes according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale found on the National Hurricane Center: “A Category 5 storm is the most destructive a hurricane can potentially be. This storm has wind speeds over 157 miles per hour and catastrophic damage will occur.” In regards to damage, there is a “high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

With Hurricane Maria making its aim at Dominica, the people of this Caribbean island are preparing for the strongest storm to make landfall in the island’s recorded history. In a statement released from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Maria clocked in wind speeds at 160 miles per hour as it came in contact with the island nation.

When Maria made landfall around 9 p.m. EST Monday night, the powerful storm was already starting to show its dominance of the country. In a Facebook post, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, stated that “[his] roof is gone” and that he is “at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.”

In the storm’s approach, an evacuation was called for all residents living in the low-set areas of the island. In preparation for the flooding,  146 shelters were opened to provide a roof to those displaced from the storm.

Prime Minister Skerrit had stern words for Dominica’s citizens in a news conference. He told them: “This is not a time for heroism. This much water in Dominica is dangerous given our terrain, and therefore persons should not wait for something to happen in order to take action.”

Hurricane Maria came a little over a week after the people of Dominica were impacted by Hurricane Irma. Skerrit had tried to relay to residents that they should take any personal belongings that could become dangerous projectiles as a way to minimize the damage that could be caused. This notification came due to the belief of the Prime Minister that the goal for handling the severity of the storm “must not be on stockpiling supplies but on mitigating damage caused by flying objects.”

What should Puerto Rico Expect?

As Hurricane Maria moves northward, it’s next target is the US territory of Puerto Rico. Maria is expected to reach landfall on the island around Wednesday afternoon. On the island, a hurricane warning has been issued. Puerto Rican governor, Ricardo Rosselló has declared a state of emergency for the residents.   

President Trump has also issued an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico in hopes to gain federal assistance in funding efforts for the storm-response groups.

Governor Rosselló explained that the residents of the island are “as ready as [they] can be.”

He stated that the country made many preparations in trying to make sure they stay after while the storm touches down on the island. Puerto Rican civilians have the possibility to move into 500 shelters during the dangerous event.

Feature Image via Dreamstime

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