Hurricane Maria regains Category 5 strength, now heading toward Puerto Rico

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ROSEAU, Dominica – Hurricane Maria has regained Category 5 strength, upping its top wind speeds after it had briefly dropped to a Category 4 storm overnight near the island of Dominica.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says a hurricane hunter plane checking on Maria after it pounded that small Caribbean island says the storm strengthened anew early Tuesday and again has top sustained winds of 160 mph. The storm was located early Tuesday about 65 miles west-southwest of another Caribbean island, Guadeloupe. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria is on a forecast track approaching the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico between Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Hurricane Maria smashed into Dominica overnight with 160 mph winds, ripping the roof off even the prime minister’s residence and causing what he called “mind-boggling” devastation as it plunged into a Caribbean region already ravaged by Hurricane Irma.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt said on his Facebook page that “initial reports are of widespread devastation” and said he feared there would be deaths due to rain-fed landslides.

Skeritt added that he will be going around the country to see what has happened and what is needed as soon as the all-clear sign is given. He said his initial focus will be to rescue trapped people and secure medical aid for the injured.

Also in the Atlantic, Hurricane Jose is producing dangerous surf and rip currents along the East Coast of the United States.

The surf remains rough along the New Jersey shore and there’s a chance for some coastal flooding because of Jose. But the strong winds associated with the hurricane are well off the coast.

Wave heights off the coast could build to 15 feet, while breaking waves along the coast are expected to reach 8 to 10 feet. A high risk for rip currents continues.

Minor flooding is expected during the morning high tide and moderate flooding is anticipated during the evening. Widespread roadway flooding is expected and minor property damage is possible.

Here in Connecticut,  we will feel some effects from Jose. But luckily for us, it doesn’t look like any significant impacts.

For more information on Jose and its impact on Connecticut, click here.