Hurricane Maria hammers Leeward Islands already ravaged by Irma

The rear view of the hurricane-struck house on St. John's that sheltered Karmen Lewis of Detroit Lakes

The rear view of the hurricane-struck house on St. John's that sheltered Karmen Lewis of Detroit Lakes

There were no immediate details from Delgado.

He noted that even though the building was strong, the unrelenting winds compounded by heavy rainfall proved to be too much for the structure.

The Category 4-storm, with winds of 155 miles per hour (250 kph), tore off roofs and sent doors flying off their hinges. Many roads were blocked and some 80,000 people, or 40 percent of the population, were without power, the overseas territories ministry said in a statement. The country is on high alert for flooding and mudslides. Reports from reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the area of hurricane-force winds has increased in size. Although Hurricane Irma had top sustained winds of 185 MPH, Irma's pressure never dropped below 914 MBs.

Forecasters said the storm was packing winds of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour) and was expected to thrash the island, which is home to over 3.4 million people, for 12 to 24 hours.

Also, a Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano.

In the capital of San Juan, most businesses are closed or closing early today and the San Juan Airport is closing this evening.

"I'd be lying if I say I'm not a little nervous", she said. Housing was significantly damaged or destroyed and there was no electricity, phone services or running water, Henry said.

With this latest storm, the state's Puerto Rican community was paying close attention, concerned for friends and loved ones still there.

The last time Puerto Rico was hit by a Category 5 storm was in 1928. That's lower than Irma's USA landfall of 929 millibars in the Florida Keys earlier this year, as well 2005's Hurricane Katrina landfall of 920, which had been in third place.

Several of those islands were devastated earlier this month when Irma rampaged through the Caribbean.

The island has 500 shelters open, where they've been taking hundreds of pets as well as people.

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Puerto Rico had always been spared from a direct hit by hurricanes that tend to veer north or south of the island.

The footage showed the storm ready to pound an island that was already hit hard by Hurricane Irma only two weeks ago.

Maria is forecast to then continue north, avoiding the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Florida, before ending up out to sea.

Three Category 4 hurricanes have made a USA landfall in a little less than a month, causing billions of dollars in damage and likely leading to the retirement of the names Harvey, Irma and Maria from use in future hurricane seasons.

Puerto Ricans have been warned to evacuate or risk their lives as Hurricane Maria barrels toward the USA territory, bringing life-threatening winds, storm surge and rainfalls.

Hurricane Maria began battering Puerto Rico Wednesday, tearing off roofs and sending doors flying off their hinges.

The identity of either of the fatalities is unknown.

Maria killed two people in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and two people aboard a boat were reported missing off La Desirade island, just east of Guadeloupe, officials said.

"We are getting absolutely hammered right now".

Hurricane Maria arrived in Puerto Rico early Wednesday - bringing the most severe weather conditions the USA territory has seen in almost 100 years.

Hurricane Maria strengthened into a "potentially catastrophic" Category Five storm as it barrelled into eastern Caribbean islands still reeling from Irma, forcing residents to evacuate in powerful winds and lashing rain.

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