Hurricane Maria: storm rages on as death toll rises

Hurricane Maria has devastated US territory of Puerto Rico and is expected to move towards the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as beyond that, to the island chain of the Bahamas

A shack destroyed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday (Photo: Hector Retamal)
A shack destroyed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday (Photo: Hector Retamal)

The storm is currently inching towards these regions, with Maria already lashing the small archipelago of the Turks and Caicos, with winds of over 200km/h.

It is expected to pass the islands with about 80km to spare, still able to drop around 100cm of rain.

Although it looks like it won’t make landfall, the “Turks and Caicos are already feeling the impact” of the storm, said meteorologist Karen Maginnis.

The islands, along with the Bahamas, should expect continued heavy rains, as well as a potential storm surge of around 3-4 metres, said Maginnis.

Hurricane Maria has been downgraded from Category 5, which left the island nation of Dominica, along with Puerto Rico, completely powerless. It is now a Category 3 storm, and hurricane warnings have been issued for the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and the northeastern shore of the Dominican Republic.

At least 14 are confirmed dead on Dominica, and dozens more are missing. Eight people, including a family of four, drowned in the Puerto Rico city of Tao Baja, according to local media.

Maria is forecasted to pitch out over the Atlantic, travelling north, but is not expected to have much effect on the US’ eastern coast. 

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