HURRICANE Maria followed a similar path to the deadly megastorm Irma — leaving devastating scenes of destruction in its wake.
The storm battered Dominica, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with 160mph winds and sparked chaotic flooding. Here’s everything we know about it.
What is Hurricane Maria’s latest path?
The latest hurricane has produced devastating winds of more than 160mph.
The US National Hurricane Centre declared Maria a “major hurricane” after it devastated the island of Dominica.
The storm followed a similar path to Hurricane Irma, which struck many Caribbean islands as well as southern Florida.
Maria has been blamed for at least 33 deaths, including 15 in Dominica, three in Haiti, two in Guadeloupe and at least 13 in Puerto Rico.
Forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Lee, which have both weakened, could collide in the Atlantic and be pushed across to Britain.
The storms could reach British shores in the coming days and bring with them heavy rain and strong winds.
Met Office forecaster Nicola Maxey said: “Lee’s warm air will influence our weather on Saturday, and Maria’s warm air looks like tracking to southern England on Monday.
“A different low-pressure system passes north of the UK to affect us from Saturday to Monday.
“At the moment, we don’t plan to name this system.
“The systems will bring quite a lot of rain and it will be windy across all areas.
“Stay away from fast-flowing flood water, which can be dangerous, and do not try to drive through floods.”
What was the damage to Dominica and Puerto Rico?
Maria’s “intense” centre crashed into Dominica on Monday, September 18, bringing widespread devastation and reportedly leaving at least six people dead.
Fierce winds and driving rain lashed the mountainous island for hours.
Maria caused flooding and tore steel roofs from homes, while classed as an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm.
Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit said it wrought “widespread devastation” and the islanders had “lost all what money can buy and replace”.
He said in a Facebook post: “The winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with.”
A family of seven are among the people killed after Hurricane Maria smashed into the island.
Conditions in Puerto Rico were described as “apocalyptic” days after Maria stormed the island and killed at least ten people.
Millions are still without power after the storm hit the US territory on September 20 which left the island cut off from the world.
Authorities rescued nearly 700 people from high waters. It destroyed the US territory’s electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.
“Puerto Rico is absolutely obliterated,” US President Donald Trump told reporters after declaring the territory of 3.4 million people a disaster area, a move that will free up emergency relief funding.
“Puerto Rico is in a very, very, very tough shape.”
The Guajataca Dam in the northwest of the country was in “imminent” danger of rupturing and causing “life threatening flash flooding” on September 22 – with those living below it ordered to evacuate.
Officials have reported widespread looting with curfews in place as supplies run low.
Where is Maria now and will it hit the UK?
Hurricane Maria is on its way across the North Atlantic and could hit the UK at the weekend, forecasters have warned.
The Met Office said the potential effects will be “far from those experienced in the Caribbean”, but added that the weather system still raging as Maria moves across the Atlantic can bring very strong winds and heavy rain.
Autumn weather will dominate this week with foggy nights alongside wet and windy spells, while forecasters advise keeping an eye on updates about the potential impacts from the remnants of Hurricane Maria over the coming days.
Forecasters said that weather systems such as Maria often head north out of the tropics, but when hurricanes lose connection with warmer tropical waters they lose their source of energy and weaken rapidly as a result.
The forecasters said these systems have decayed to a relatively large extent by the time they enter our latitudes, but their remnants still contain air of tropical origin, which can still exert an influence on the weather in the north-east Atlantic, including the UK.
Meteorologists are currently watching the progress of hurricanes Lee and Maria as they take curved tracks across the North Atlantic.
Both have moved considerably north of the Tropic of Cancer now, and are occupying the open waters of the North Atlantic.
Latest forecasts show Hurricane Maria could join forces with Lee – now a Category Three – and transform into a huge megastorm before smashing into the UK.
Whether the two hurricanes merge or not, both of the storms will collide with Britain by the weekend.