Bracing for Category 5 Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria with winds at 175 mph takes aim at Puerto Rico

Weather experts say Maria could be even more risky and destructive than Hurricane Irma, which destroyed large swaths of the Caribbean earlier this month.

Nearby islands are now preparing and ordering evacuations. It's hurricane force winds extend 15 miles from its center (Irma's extended around 80).

That'll make Maria the first Category 4 or 5 hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico in 85 years.

"We were asking him to have more resources in terms of electrical teams that can help us out to solve the situation and recover the infrastructure of the power grid on the island".

"So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace", Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wrote in his last Facebook dispatch before falling silent as the country lost phone and Internet connections.

The Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour is threatening to decimate the power company's crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities. Now it's on course for Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, there are still more than 70,000 people without power from Hurricane Irma, she said.

Caribbean Island Martinique after Hurricane Maria
LIONEL CHAMOISEAU AFP Getty Images

"As of 2:30 a.m. we count 10,059 refugees and 189 pets (in shelters)", tweeted Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

Rain and wind hit a parking lot at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Picture: Getty) Latest footage from Puerto Rico shows extremely strong winds thrashing the island.

The hurricane center warned that much rain could cause flooding and mudslides.

An uprooted tree covers a small house in the village of Viard - Petit Bourg, near Pointe-a-Pitre, on September 19, 2017 in the French territory of Guadeloupe after the passage of Hurricane Maria.

It was largely spared by Hurricane Irma when it roared through the Caribbean as a Category 5 hurricane earlier this month.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica at 11:00 local time.

Follow the San Juan branch of the National Weather Service on Twitter. These folks tend to live-tweet storm updates.

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