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 and where it’s headed next…
What is Hurricane Maria’s latest path?
The latest hurricane 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.
On Tuesday (October 3), the Met Office explained that the storm had “weakened”, adding: “The remnants of this system brought some rain across the south of the UK yesterday and is now moving across Europe bringing rain there.”
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.
Around 10,000 people remain in emergency services.
“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.
Around 4,400 military personnel have been deployed to deal with the crisis.
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.
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.
Latest forecasts show Hurricane Maria could join forces with Lee and transform into a huge megastorm before smashing into the UK this weekend – with threats of month’s a worth of rain and 60mph winds.
Whether the two hurricanes merge or not, both of the storms will collide with Britain by the weekend.