Quake kills dozens as Hurricane Maria intensifies

Quake kills dozens as Hurricane Maria intensifies

Hurricane Maria was heading for Puerto Rico in a terrifying vortex of wind and rain on Tuesday, in footage that was captured by the International Space Station (ISS). While they have done what they can to get ready, Casillas doesn't believe anyone is truly prepared for the devastation Maria is expected to have on the island.

Authorities said 40 per cent of households in the territory of some 400,000 had no electricity, and 25 per cent of landlines had been cut.

It had been a Category 5 system, and even downgraded, it packed powerful sustained winds of 155 miles per hour and is the strongest storm to have hit the island in decades.

It is forecast to pass over or near the US Virgin Islands before cutting diagonally, southeast to northwest, through Puerto Rico starting Wednesday morning.

As of Tuesday night, the NHC in Miami said the storm's winds had intensified to 175 miles per hour and could become stronger still. The last time a Category 4 storm struck the island was in 1932.

Maria is expected to have winds equivalent to a Category 3 storm by the time it reaches San Juan, the National Weather Service said.

Puerto Rico was still healing the scars left behind by Hurricane Irma, which left three dead and battered the island's troubled electrical system.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica just a few minutes ago.

In Puerto Rico - which was largely spared the worst of Hurricane Irma's wrath earlier this month - officials prepared for an outright calamity, urging residents to seek shelter before the storm makes landfall Wednesday.

Puerto Rico, a US territory which Irma grazed as it headed toward Cuba and Florida, opened shelters and began to dismantle construction cranes that could be vulnerable to high winds as it prepared for Maria. "Be careful, our hearts are with you- will be there to help!"

"Folks this is an extremely, extremely risky hurricane and it continues to inch its way onto St. Croix", Mapp said at a news conference. Days before that, Hurricane Harvey swept across the Gulf of Mexico to deliver record floodwater to Houston as the storm stagnated over Texas.

"We need to be together right now", he said. Two others aboard a boat were reported missing off La Desirade island, officials told the news agency.