The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says a hurricane hunter plane checking on Maria after it pounded that small Caribbean island says the storm strengthened anew early Tuesday and again has top sustained winds of 160 miles per hour.
"Initial reports are of widespread devastation", Skerrit said in a later post.
"My roof is gone, I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane, house is flooding but I have been rescued". This means the ports are now closed for regular shipping including cruise ships. Puerto Rico has only seen one Category 5 hurricane in all its of recorded history, and the last Category 4 hurricane hit the island in 1932.
Brig John Ridge, second-in-command of the United Kingdom military's Joint Task Force, which has been distributing aid in the region following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma, said the British Virgin Islands has "already been weakened" and that the situation "doesn't look good".
Tropical storm warnings were in place in Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St Eustatius, and St Lucia.
The storm is "extremely risky", according to the NHC, and on Monday evening will likely pass near Dominica.
The regional government of Guadeloupe tweeted early Tuesday to its residents: "Don't go out under any circumstances".
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The hurricane was about 15 miles east-southeast of Dominica and moving west-northwest at 9 miles per hour. A higher level of danger has been declared in Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat. The major cruise destinations of St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk are in Maria's path.
In 2014, 31 people were killed and more than 360 homes were destroyed in Dominica by Tropical Storm Erika.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the storm is "catastrophic" and headed for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
"Dominica had very little time to prepare for this monster", Karins said.
The hurricane's arrival in the Caribbean comes less than a fortnight after Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction across the region, sparking a major United Kingdom relief effort to help communities in the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.
Mapp warned that hurricane-force winds were expected to howl across St. Croix for eight hours, accompanied by up to a foot and a half (46 cm) of rain that would be followed by almost a week of additional showers.
Many scientists are convinced that megastorms such as Irma, and Harvey before it, are intensified by the greater energy they can draw from oceans that are warming as a result of global climate change.