The parade of hurricanes in the Atlantic continues with Maria making landfall late tonight over the eastern Caribbean island nation of Dominica as a powerful category 5 storm packing sustained winds of 260 km/h.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center is outlying a path for Maria which is eerily similar to the recent Hurricane Irma with the U.S and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico expected to be impacted on Wednesday.
Maria will be accompanied by a dangerous storm surge and between 300-500 mm (12-20 inches) of rain to some of the islands causing life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Meantime, Hurricane Jose is still churning northward as a category 1 storm with heavy surf and rip currents along the U.S East Coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
Canadian forecasters say the remnants of Jose have already brought high humidity to the Maritimes and will give Nova Scotia persistent moisture and cloud cover as well as rough surf along the Atlantic coast.
The impact of Hurricane Irma in Miami, FL, USA, 10 Sept 2017 (AP)
Irma was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm today after slamming Florida with destructive wind, heavy rain, flash flooding, high storm surges and even tornadoes.
Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, made landfall over the Florida Keys on Sunday before coming ashore near Naples and then heading up the state’s west coast.
Miami was not in the storm’s direct path but was still battered by strong winds which swayed high rise buildings, brought down three construction cranes and downtown streets were swamped.
In northeast Florida, Jacksonville had historic flooding after the swollen St. Johns River spilled its banks and officials said dangerous conditions were expected for several days.
Prior to arriving in the United States, Irma claimed 10 lives in Cuba according to state media after battering Havana and tourist resorts such as Varadero and Cayo Coco where the international airport was destroyed.
From left to right, Hurricanes Katia, Irma, Jose, 08 Sept 2017 (Earth Wind Map)
Irma aftermath on St. Maarten Island, eastern Caribbean, 06 Sept 2017 (Reuters)
Hurricane Irma has barreled through the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm claiming more than 20 lives and destroying more than 90 percent of the buildings on the islands of Barbuda, St. Martin/St. Maarten and St. Barts.
Irma is heading for Florida where officials say it could be the strongest storm ever and evacuation orders have led to massive lineups at gas stations as residents flee northward.
Following a similar path, Hurricane Jose is a Category 4 storm which could hit the already battered islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
Hurricane Katia is a Category 2 storm in the Gulf of Mexico which will make landfall along Mexico’s east coast bringing heavy rain and a storm surge before dissipating quickly over the rugged Sierra Madre mountains.
Forecasters say three simultaneous hurricanes is quite rare and the last time was in 2010 with Hurricanes Igor, Julia and Karl.
Hurricane Irma is being called a “potentially catastrophic” category 5 storm by the U.S National Hurricane Center with maximum sustained winds of 295 km/h as it bears down on the eastern Caribbean.
The core of Irma is expected to move across the northern Leeward Islands overnight and will track close to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by late Wednesday and the Dominican Republic by Thursday.
A hurricane watch has also been issued for eastern Cuba along with northern Haiti, southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos.
Forecasters say Irma is increasingly likely to target Florida (now under a state of emergency) and parts of the American Southeast as a dangerous hurricane this weekend.