Hurricane Maria continues to gain strength as it moves through the Caribbean and is now a Category 3 hurricane. The island of St. Lucia is preparing for the hurricane, which is poised to reach it by tonight. St. Lucia is already under a hurricane warning.
St. Lucia is among the islands under a hurricane warning. This means that “hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.”
The 2 p.m. ET public advisory from the U.S. National Hurricane Center reports that Maria is 45 miles (70 km) east-northeast of Martinique. It is moving at 10 mph (17 kmh) and has maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (200 kmh).
“The potential for a life-threatening storm surge, accompanied by large and destructive waves, has increased for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico,” the NHC notes. “Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides from heavy rainfall are expected across the Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.”
The St. Lucia Times reports that the St. Lucia Meteorological Services predicts heavy showers, winds and thunderstorms on the island Monday. Residents in flood-prone areas are advised to pay attention to forecasts and alerts.
Thankfully for residents of St. Lucia, the island was not greatly affected by Hurricane Irma, but it is in the path of Maria. St. Lucia is already bracing for a major storm. Deputy Prime Minister Lenard Montoute ordered all schools, businesses and government offices to close indefinitely, until an all-clear is given, reports Nation News. The nearby island of Dominica also cancelled school and closed government offices.
St. Lucia, which has been independent from the U.K. since 1979, has a total area of 616 sq km, according to the CIA World Factbook. It has an estimated population of 164,994. It lies 767 km southeast of Puerto Rico.
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