Caribbean islands prepare for Hurricane Maria

Caribbean islands still coming to terms with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma are preparing themselves for a possible second major storm in two weeks.

Tropical Storm Maria was upgraded to a category one hurricane force on Sunday by the US National Hurricane Center.
The storm is currently following roughly the same path as Irma.

As a result, hurricane warnings have been issued for the US and British Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico.
They were all hit by Hurricane Irma – the category five storm which left at least 37 people dead and caused billions of dollars worth of damage – earlier this month.

France has also issued a hurricane warning for its territory of Guadeloupe.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Maria had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km) at 21:00 GMT on Sunday and is expected to cross the Leeward Islands, that include the Virgin Islands, on Monday night.

Puerto Rico avoided a direct hit with Hurricane Irma, but in the British Virgin Islands entire neighbourhoods were flattened.

After a visit to the area, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the damage as something “you see in images of from the First World War”.

Virgin boss Richard Branson, who has a home in the Virgin Islands, has been tweeting ahead of the storm’s predicted arrival, warning people to stay safe.

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