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Thu, 21 Sep 2017
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Cloud Precipitation

Hurricane Maria clobbers Puerto Rico, causes island-wide power outage and massive damage

© REUTERS/ Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Hurricane Maria, the first Category 4 storm to hit Puerto Rico since 1932, is tossing all it has at the island nation after making landfall Wednesday morning.

​"This is total devastation," Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's governor, said in a statement. "Puerto Rico, in terms of infrastructure, will not be the same... this is something of historic proportions."

Comment: The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that the core of Hurricane Maria still remains dangerous, despite being downgraded to a category 2 hurricane and that "Maria could regain major hurricane status by Thursday" as "some strengthening" is forecast for the next day or two. Conditions are now deteriorating over eastern Dominican Republic with winds of up to 110mph (175kmph), according to the NHC.

A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques and part of the Dominican Republic - from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata - as well as the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas.

Meanwhile aerial footage shows the massive damage sustained by the Caribbean island of Dominica from Hurricane Maria. Seven people have so far been confirmed dead in Dominica, but that toll is expected to rise as rescue teams make their way to inaccessible parts of the island.

Cloud Lightning

Puerto Rico braces for Hurricane Maria, potentially the most catastrophic storm to strike the country in a century

As residents of Puerto Rico brace for Hurricane Maria -- which slammed into the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm Monday night -- Puerto Rico's governor is calling the storm "the biggest and potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in a century."

Maria, which has left at least two dead in the Caribbean, is forecast to "remain an extremely dangerous Category 4 or 5 hurricane" as it approaches Puerto Rico early Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Maria could bring life-threatening flooding and mudslides, as well as a 6- to 9-foot storm surge, to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Dangerous flash flooding and mudslides are also possible, especially in mountainous regions in Puerto Rico.

As of 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Maria's maximum sustained winds had decreased to 160 mph, but it remained a Category 5 storm. Maria's maximum sustained winds had been as high as 175 mph during the day Tuesday. It was located 35 miles west of St. Croix and 70 miles southeast of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. The storm is expected to reach the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning.


Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands brace for another 'potentially catastrophic' Category 5 hurricane: Maria

© Jonathan Drake / Reuters
A completely destroyed house is seen 12 days after Hurricane Irma ripped through the island, in the Cruz Bay area of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands September 16, 2017.
Hurricane Maria has been upgraded to an "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 hurricane by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) as it tracks towards the already storm-battered Caribbean islands.

The eye of the hurricane is expected to pass near Dominica and the adjacent Leeward Islands during the next few hours and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday night, according to the latest public advisory issued at 12:00am GMT.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques, the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, Dominica and other islands in the area. Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico as "an extremely dangerous major hurricane," according to the NHC.


Turning point in history: Hurricane Irma leaves Island of Barbuda uninhabited for the first time in 4,000 years

2017 is a turning point in the history of Barbuda. Due to the devastation of Hurricane Irma, this small Caribbean island currently has no human inhabitants.

As Ambassador Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the U.S. since 2015, said "For the first time in 300 years, there's not a single living person on the island of Barbuda - a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished." All of Barbuda's citizens were evacuated to the neighboring island of Antigua.

Comment: See also: Paradise islands devastated by Hurricane Irma (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)


Hurricane Maria hits Dominica as category five storm

© AP
The eye of Hurricane Maria as it nears Dominica.
Hurricane Maria, strengthened to a "potentially catastrophic" category five storm, has torn into the Caribbean island of Dominica with sustained winds of 260km/h (160mph).

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook that his roof had been torn off and he was "at the complete mercy of the hurricane".

He said his house had flooded, later adding that he had been rescued.

Dominica's airport and ports have been closed.

Maria is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, the hurricane that devastated the region this month.

The nearby island of Martinique has declared a maximum-level alert while another French island, Guadeloupe, ordered evacuations.

Hurricane warnings are also in place for:
  • Puerto Rico: The US territory expects Maria to make landfall as a category three on Tuesday. It escaped the worst of Irma and has been an important hub for getting relief to islands more badly affected. Governor Ricardo Rossello urged islanders to seek refuge
  • US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands: Both island chains suffered severe damage from Irma and President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the US territories on Monday. British authorities fear debris left behind by Irma could be whipped up by the new storm and pose an extra threat.

Cloud Lightning

Two killed, 5 injured by lightning bolt in Madhya Pradesh, India

Two men were killed and five others injured after being struck by lightning at Badvar village near here in the district, police said today.

The incident took place last evening.

"Deeraj Kol and Bhagwan Kol (both aged 45), standing near a tree, were killed instantly when a lightning bolt hit them. Five others were injured in the strike," Chandia Police Station Inspector Anup Singh said.

The bodies of the deceased have been handed over to their family members, he said, adding the injured are being treated in the district hospital.

Source: Press Trust of India

Comment: 3 people were also killed by lightning strikes in the same Indian state 2 days earlier.

Deaths due to lightning were also reported on the 18th of September in Nepal where a woman was hit while 2 men were struck in Bangladesh.

Cloud Lightning

New Plymouth's Wind Wand hit by lightning in New Zealand

© PrimoWireless
The Len Lye sculpture was struck by lightning about 6.11pm.
Striking footage has emerged of lightning lashing New Plymouth's Wind Wand art structure during a storm on Sunday night.

Video of the strike was posted to Facebook by Taranaki-based business PrimoWireless which caught the bolt lighting up the sky shortly after 6pm.

The video has had more than 110,000 hits in just over 12 hours.

Watch the video.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 1, hurts 2 others in Lapu-Lapu, Philippines

A 45-year-old shellfish gleaner died while two others were hurt after lightning struck the cottage they were at in Sitio Takan, Barangay Agus in Lapu-Lapu City last Saturday.

Eutiquio Paraquoli was declared dead in the hospital after he, together with Michael Perolino and Ramil Layson, were hit by lightning at 8:30 p.m.

The three reportedly sought shelter in a cottage a few meters from where they were gleaning seashells when the lightning struck, SPO1 Richard Alforte, desk officer of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Station 4, said.

A bolt of lightning hit the cottage, causing electrical shocks on the three men.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills student in Rukiga, Uganda

One person was yesterday killed by lightning during a heavy downpour in Kashambya sub-county, Rukiga district. The deceased identified as Saudah Ankunda, is a 20-year-old resident of Ruyumbu cell, Kitunga parish in Kashambya sub-county.

She was a S.3 student at Kabale Trinity College.

According to the deceased's father, Johnson Ampwera, his daughter was struck when she had gone to work in the garden with her siblings.

"It was at around 2:00pm when Ankunda and her three siblings went to the garden for some work. There was a heavy downpour and the children were struck by lightning as they attempted to seek shelter in the neighbourhood. Ankunda died on spot, while her young sister was rushed to Kisiizi Hospital where she is positively responding to medication," said Ampwera.

The deceased who was the second born of her parents' six children was described by her father as a hardworking child whose.

"I had a lot of hope in her because she was hard-working. I thought she would be a valuable person in future," said Ampwera.

Bizarro Earth

Hurricane season roars on: Jose moves northward off US Coast while Tropical Storm Maria tracks Irma's path threatening Caribbean and Florida

As Hurricane Jose ambles northward in the Atlantic far off the East Coast, an innocuous-sounding system has turned into Tropical Storm Maria in the Caribbean and could well follow Irma's destructive path toward Florida as a full-blown hurricane.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the one-time disturbance to Tropical Depression Maria and said it was 620 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles, moving west at 20 mph. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

A hurricane watch was issued for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat, a route followed by Irma as it moved westward.