In Brief

Hurricane Maria triggers new Caribbean alert

The storm, following the path of Hurricane Irma, threatens areas that are already devastated

Residents on islands in the eastern Caribbean are bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Maria less than two weeks after being lashed by Hurricane Irma, which claimed at least 84 lives.

The US National Hurricane Centre said Maria is expected to gain power and would be near major hurricane strength when it crosses through the Leeward Islands on a path toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

“The storm had maximum sustained winds of 140kph [87mph] late Sunday,” says the Associated Press. The eye of the storm was about 100 miles northeast of Barbados and heading west-northwest at 12mph.

“Hurricane warnings were in place for the French island of Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat, while a hurricane watch was in effect for US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St Eustatius, St Maarten, St Martin and St Barthelemy, and Anguilla,” reports ABC News.

Maria is expected to make landfall on the Leeward Islands on Monday night, and is on track to batter Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

“This has the potential of being a very big disaster,” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello told The New York Times.

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