U.S. Virgin Islands Braces for Hurricane Maria

National Hurricane Center

The U.S. Virgin Islands, still recovering from Hurricane Irma, is bracing for another powerful storm. Hurricane Maria is expected to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands Tuesday night, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane is now a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 175 miles per hour. Hurricane Maria is currently about 60 miles southeast of St Croix.

SUSTAINED HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS SHOULD START ON ST. CROIX SOON

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The storm battered Dominica on Tuesday, where the prime minister said damage there was “mind boggling.”

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp said recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma are on hold and warned residents to prepare for Hurricane Maria.

“Take this event seriously,” Mapp said, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.

Storm surges in the U.S. Virgin Islands could reach 6 to 9 feet and some areas could see up to 20 inches of rain.

Here’s a list of shelters that will be open for Hurricane Maria:

St. Thomas
Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School
Lockhart School
Charlotte Amalie High School
Knud Hansen Complex

St. John
Guy Benjamin School
Bethany Moravian Church

St. Croix
Herbert Grigg Home
Canegata Park
St. Croix Educational Complex

A curfew is in effect from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property, and ensure public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all of the islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

The U.S. Virgin Islands were hit hard by Hurricane Irma on September 6, with St. Thomas and St. John suffering the most damage. The Category 5 storm packed maximum sustained winds of 185 miles an hour as it continued west over Cuba before heading north across Florida.