Hurricane Maria is ravaging the same Caribbean islands that Irma just devastated, and lashing Puerto Rico — here’s what it looks like on the ground

A man removing a branch in a flooded street in Pointe-a-Pitre, in Guadeloupe.

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A man removing a branch in a flooded street in Pointe-a-Pitre, in Guadeloupe.
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REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Residents of many Caribbean islands barely had time to catch their breath after Hurricane Irma ravaged their shores before a second Category 5 hurricane came barreling through.

Hurricane Maria devastated the Leeward Islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe on Monday and Tuesday, then turned its destructive eye toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.

Here’s what the damage looks like on the ground.


In Dominica, “initial reports are of widespread devastation,” said a Facebook post from the island’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, who had to be rescued after the storm ripped off his roof and flooded his home.

Aerial footage of thedestruction in #Dominica from#Maria#HuracanMaria#HurricaneMaria#ouraganMaria#LesserAntilles#Caribbeanpic.twitter.com/C6lUwE0YqO

#Dominica#Maria#HuracanMaria#HurricaneMaria#ouraganMaria#LesserAntilles#Caribbeanpic.twitter.com/C6lUwE0YqOSeptember20, 2017


“The winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with,” Skerrit wrote on Monday night.


Maria is one of the fastest-intensifying hurricanes on record. It strengthened from a Category 1 storm to a Category 5 one in less than a day.

Apsolutely amazing how#HurricaneMariacame from category 1 to a category 5 hurricane in less than 24hours. pic.twitter.com/ARiNxFzB4k

#HurricaneMariapic.twitter.com/ARiNxFzB4kSeptember19, 2017


In Guadeloupe, a French territory, maximum sustained wind speeds reached 160 mph.

New video shows Hurricane#Mariatearing through Guadeloupe. pic.twitter.com/qysgwl2vil

#Mariapic.twitter.com/qysgwl2vilSeptember 19,2017

Source: National Hurricane Center


Forecasters said the Leeward Islands, including Guadeloupe (shown here on Monday night), Martinique, and Dominica could see 10 to 15 inches of rain by Thursday, with isolated totals of up to 20 inches.

[Direct] #Maria #BasseterreLes vents sont extrêmement violents. Restez confinés. Ne sortezsous aucun prétexte. pic.twitter.com/0D8O0YY8a0

#Maria#Basseterrepic.twitter.com/0D8O0YY8a0September19, 2017


The waters in Guadeloupe on Tuesday flooded streets and parking lots.

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Shopping carts in a flooded parking lot in the outskirts of Pointe-a-Pitre, in Guadeloupe, on Tuesday.
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REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

On Tuesday, people started emerging to survey the damage caused by the second major hurricane in two weeks.

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People walk in a flooded street in Pointe-a-Pitre on Tuesday.
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REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Debris lined the flooded seafront in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe.

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REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

“The winds are very violent,” Guadeloupe’s prefect (France’s state representative there), wrote on Twitter. “Many trees are down on the roads, and 80,000 homes are without power.”


Officials in Guadeloupe urged residents to stay inside on Tuesday so they could clear debris from the roads.


In Barbados, the quick rush of water caused by the hurricane’s strong winds — known as a storm surge — was apparent on Tuesday morning in rippling waves in the Bridgetown harbor.

Footage from my friends in#Barbados.#Bridgetown#Harbour#HurricaneMariahit them as a TS. #Concernedabout #Carib #fishers and#fisheriespic.twitter.com/ThTJiUQOFc

#Barbados#Bridgetown#Harbour#HurricaneMaria#Concerned#Carib#fishers#fisheriespic.twitter.com/ThTJiUQOFcSeptember19, 2017


A Twitter user said it was “getting a bit intense here in St. Kitts” on Tuesday morning.

#HurricaneMariagetting a bit intense here in St Kitts pic.twitter.com/OdZAp2GQ84

#HurricaneMariapic.twitter.com/OdZAp2GQ84September19, 2017


Hurricane Maria turned its destructive eye toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands late Tuesday and early Wednesday.


The wall of the storm looked ominous as it approached St. Thomas on Tuesday night.


It was a “rough, rough, rough, rough, rough, rough night” on St. Croix, a resident, Denea Prime, said in a Facebook Live video Wednesday morning. “Jesus help us. Look at my island now.”


Another resident posted a YouTube video showing the pouring rain on Tuesday night in St. Croix. “Lots of leaves blown off the trees. The trees are taking a beating,” he said. “St. Croix is taking a beating. This is crazy.”


Destruction started before the storm’s eye even reached the island of Puerto Rico.

This is happening right nowand the eye isn’t even here yet. #HurricaneMaria#Maria#HuracanMaria#PuertoRico#MariaHurricanepic.twitter.com/pvjLuGbRS5

#HurricaneMaria#Maria#HuracanMaria#PuertoRico#MariaHurricanepic.twitter.com/pvjLuGbRS5September20, 2017


The storm surge is forecasted to reach 6 to 9 feet above ground in Puerto Rico, sending floodwaters inland.

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A man photographs the waves on Tuesday before Maria’s arrival in Guayama, Puerto Rico.
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REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Mike Theiss, a storm chaser, posted an incredible video of Maria’s strength as it made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning.

Eyewall tearing up the hotelin #Fajardo#HurricaneMariapic.twitter.com/UGVKfQi1Cl

#Fajardo#HurricaneMariapic.twitter.com/UGVKfQi1ClSeptember20, 2017


Theiss was in the town of Fajardo, in the northeast corner of Puerto Rico, where winds got up to 150 mph. He said it was some of the most intense wind he had experienced.

Walls blown in at restaurant Iate dinner at 12 hours ago #Fajardo#HurricaneMariapic.twitter.com/xvCkcInYSF

#Fajardo#HurricaneMariapic.twitter.com/xvCkcInYSFSeptember20, 2017


The winds in San Juan also sounded strong.

Humacao #HurricaneMARIApic.twitter.com/TrEBgyjBBQ

#HurricaneMARIApic.twitter.com/TrEBgyjBBQSeptember20, 2017


On Wednesday morning, hurricane warnings were in effect for the British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra, Turks and Caicos, the southeastern Bahamas, Vieques, and the Dominican Republic. The storm’s destruction is most likely far from over.

source
National Hurricane Center

NOAA’s #GOES16 shows#HurricaneMaria,at dangerous Cat. 4 strength, moving over eastern #PuertoRicothis morning, 9/20/17. pic.twitter.com/Z0JYygUjqI

#GOES16#HurricaneMaria#PuertoRicopic.twitter.com/Z0JYygUjqISeptember20, 2017