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UPDATE 3 p.m: Hurricane Maria, category 5 storm, 1 dead

Overnight, Hurricane Maria was elevated to a category five storm, devastating the Dominica Caribbean Islands. It is being described by the National Hurricane Centre as “potentially catastrophic” and has led to at least one death as of 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Media reports claim one person has been killed in Guadaloupe after a tree branch fell on top of them.

Winds have increased to 260km/hr and water levels are raising seven to 11 feet above normal tide levels.

 

Officials in Dominica described the results of the storm as “widespread devastation”. As of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, there were no reported deaths, but officials said the weather conditions make it difficult for a proper assessment to be made. Mostly, the damage is physical, with mass flooding and wind damage. The Dominica Prime Minister’s house was completely destroyed, the roof taken clean off. He needed to be rescued after his home started to flood. The Prime Minister updated his residences via Facebook.

The eye of the storm is expected to travel over Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Isles tonight. The governor of Puerto Rico has already declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm.

More to come.