Maria became the second Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Significant damage has been reported across the Caribbean islands as Hurricane Maria continues along its destructive path.
Dominica took a direct hit from Maria on Monday night shortly after it strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 mph. This is the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall on the island on record.
According to WIC News, at least 24 people have died after Hurricane Maria decimated the island earlier this week. The death toll is expected to rise, but those numbers have not been confirmed yet.
After Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was rescued on Monday, he said in an interview the island was "brutally hit."
"Please tell the world that Dominica has been devastated... In the morning, we will know how many dead there are," Skerrit said.
According to WIC News, later reports showed that 90 percent of buildings on Dominica are destroyed after Maria. Trees and power lines are down, and landslides are blocking many of the roads.
Other islands in the Caribbean began to feel Maria's wrath shortly after it devastated Dominica.
#Maria #Guadeloupe Aéroport de Pointe-à-Pitre, sur la commune Les Abymes... pic.twitter.com/Be0qh0Iy7v
— Philippe Marque (@PhilippeMarque) September 19, 2017
Maria moved away from Dominica and took aim at French Guadeloupe, as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 155 mph.
Maria made a slightly westward turn away from Guadeloupe on Tuesday but caused winds to gust past 60 mph at Pitre International Airport in the center of the island.
Maria's Category 4-strength winds battered the southwestern portion of the island. At least 150,000 homes are without electricity between the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. At least two deaths resulted from Maria's devastation on Guadeloupe.
[Direct] #Maria Le centre se trouve actuellement au sud de Basse-Terre. Restez confinés. Réfugiez-vous dans la pièce la + sûre. pic.twitter.com/mwx01Rs4lo
— Préfet de Guadeloupe (@Prefet971) September 19, 2017
Maria continued to strengthen as it tracked across the northeastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday with sustained winds reaching 165 mph.
Winds picked up in St. Thomas, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands that is still recovering from Hurricane Irma, as Maria neared. King Airport, which is on the island's southwest shore, measured wind gusts at 70 mph on Tuesday.
St Croix, also part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, experienced devastating conditions from Maria. Rain from the Category 5 hurricane fell throughout much of the day with winds gradually increasing, occasionally gusting past 50 mph.
As Maria continued to advance towards the island, getting less than 20 miles south-southwest of St. Croix, the conditions of the storm worsened. Wind gusts are reported as high as 114 mph with sustained winds at 85 mph.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are now dealing with extensive damage following Maria, the second major hurricane to hit the islands in a span of two weeks.
As of early Thursday morning, President Donald Trump declared the U.S. Virgin Islands in a state of major disaster. This will release funding for individuals affected by Hurricane Maria on St. Croix.
Christiansted, St. Croix #HurricaneMaria #USVI #VirginIslands pic.twitter.com/GxM2gFFrZg
— U.S. Virgin Islands (@usvirginislands) September 20, 2017
Maria made landfall near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, at 6:15 a.m. AST on Wednesday, as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. Maria is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on Puerto Rico since 1932.
A wind gust of 113 mph was reported in San Juan with a gust of 137 mph reported on Isla Culebrita.
Maria delivered record and life-threatening flooding in Puerto Rico. Several gauges reported record levels along the Rio Grande De Manati and Rio Grande de Arecibo rivers.
The entire island of Puerto Rico is without power, according to multiple news reports. Earlier Wednesday, Gov. Rosello asked President Trump to declare the island a disaster area.
Daybreak ! Extreme winds pounding our hotel in #Fajarado #HurricaneMaria pic.twitter.com/rwqufucvva
— Mike Theiss (@MikeTheiss) September 20, 2017
Life-threatening flooding and rescues continue in Puerto Rico even though the storm has left.