Quantcast
Popular
The eye of Category 5 Hurricane Maria moving over Dominica. NWS San Juan‏ Twitter

Category 5 Hurricane Maria Causes 'Mind Boggling' Damage to Dominica, on Path to Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria made landfall as a Category 5 storm in Dominica on Monday night and left "mind boggling" damage to the island nation, according to the country's prime minister.

While no deaths or injuries were immediately reported, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt wrote in a Facebook post that the hurricane caused "widespread devastation" and residents "have lost all what money can buy and replace."


Winds up to 160 miles per hour ripped the roofs off of buildings, including Skerritt's own home.

He noted, "I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating ... indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured."

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

Maria started as a tropical storm over a day ago but wind speeds rapidly ramped up another 90 miles per hour within 27 hours, National Weather Service said.

BBC meteorologist Steve Cleaton explained that Maria gathered strength due to the area's elevated sea surface temperatures, which are "anomalously high by a margin of around one to two degrees," as well as other favorable atmospheric conditions such as low wind shear.

The "potentially catastrophic" storm now heads northwest towards the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, National Hurricane Center (NHC) senior hurricane specialist Mike Brennan warned in a video update Tuesday morning.

Brennan said he was "very concerned" of the potentially Category 4 or 5 winds moving through the area, as well as storm surges and extreme rainfall.

According to the NHC, a storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves could raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels in portions of the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands, and 6 to 9 feet in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As for extreme rainfall, the central and southern Leeward Islands can expect 10 to 15 inches, and isolated areas of up to 20 inches. U.S. and British Virgin Islands can expect 10 to 15 inches, and isolated areas of up to 20 inches. Puerto Rico might see 12 to 18 inches, and isolated areas of up to 25 inches.

"Everybody in those islands should have their preparations rushed to completion very, very soon as conditions will begin to deteriorate today," Brennan urged.

Maria is the third major hurricane to tear through the already devastated Caribbean islands in recent weeks.

President Donald Trump has declared a federal emergency in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Caribbean Flamingo. Claudio Contreras Koob

Four Vital Tips for Ethical Wildlife Photography

By Lisa Moore

Imagine yourself, camera in hand, suddenly spotting a grazing elk, a hummingbird feeding its chicks, a grizzly charging a rival or a bumble bee gathering pollen. You want the shot, but how do you get it without disturbing the natural behavior of the beautiful animal you're hoping to capture through your lens?

Keep reading... Show less
Benjamin Tupper

10 Facts About Pangolins on World Pangolin Day

By Elly Pepper

Do you know what a pangolin is? Where it lives? Why it's so endangered?

Most people don't. But World Pangolin Day, which falls on Feb. 17, is a great place to start. So here are 10 facts—some fun, some not so fun—about one of the world's most vulnerable but least-known species.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
themorningglory / Flickr

Household Products Cause as Much Air Pollution as Cars, Surprising Study Finds

Petroleum-based chemicals, such as those used in paints, cleaners and personal care products such as perfumes and deodorants, contribute as much to volatile organic air pollution in urban areas as cars and trucks, according to a new finding published in Science.

The consumer products emit synthetic "volatile organic compounds" or VOCs that contribute to ground-level ozone or small particulate pollution, causing asthma, lung disease and other serious health problems.

Keep reading... Show less
Trump Watch

Trump EPA Slammed for Ag Giant's 'Absurdly Low' Pesticide Fine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement this week with Syngenta Seeds, LLC over violations of federal pesticide regulations at its farm in Kauai, Hawaii.

The company, a subsidiary of Swiss biotech giant Syngenta AG, agreed to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and spend another $400,000 on worker protection training sessions.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Female Bornean orangutan with offspring. Photo courtesy of Dr. Marc Ancrenaz

Ravaged by Deforestation, Borneo Loses Nearly 150,000 Orangutans in 16 Years

By Basten Gokkon

The world lost nearly 150,000 orangutans from the island of Borneo in the past 16 years due to habitat loss and killing, and is on track to lose another 45,000 by 2050, according to a new paper in the journal Current Biology.

The study, published Feb. 15, observed 36,555 orangutan nests across Borneo, an island that is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, between 1999 and 2015. During that period, the researchers reported a steep decline in the number of nests they encountered over a given distance: the encounter rate more than halved from 22.5 nests per kilometer (about 36 per mile) to 10.1 nests per kilometer. That decline, they calculate, represents an estimated loss of 148,500 individual Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus).

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation, presenting board to Department of Interior leadership—Todd Wynn, director (left) and Tim Williams, deputy director (right) in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs. Surfrider Foundation

Coastal Recreation and Tourism Businesses Fight Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal

The Surfrider Foundation and leaders of the coastal recreation and tourism industry on Thursday presented Department of Interior representatives with a surfboard and letters signed by more than 1,000 coastal businesses and elected officials in opposition to new offshore oil drilling in U.S. waters. From Florida to Maine and California to Washington State, businesses including restaurants, retailers, surf shops and hotels are expressing concerns that new offshore oil and gas development would be disastrous for coastal communities.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Renewable Energy

Renewables Now Contribute Nearly One-Fifth of U.S. Electricity Generation

Renewable energy now makes up 18 percent of total electrical generation in the U.S., roughly double the amount a decade ago, a new report shows.

According to the sixth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which outlines key U.S. energy trends, renewable energy output in the power sector soared to a record high last year and could eventually rival nuclear.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Snowshoe hares. L.S. Mills / Jaco and Lindsey Barnard

Animals With White Winter Camouflage Could Struggle to Adapt to Climate Change

By Daisy Dunne

Animals that turn white in the winter to hide themselves in snowy landscapes could struggle to adapt to climate change, research suggests.

A new study finds that declining winter snowfall near the Arctic could have varying effects on the survival of eight mammal species that undergo a seasonal color molt from summer brown to winter white each year.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!