Hurricane Maria Smashes Dominica, Now Menaces Other Islands

ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) -- Hurricane Maria smashed into Dominica with 160 mph winds, ripping the roof off even the prime minister's residence and causing what he called "mind-boggling" devastation Tuesday as it plunged into a Caribbean region already ravaged by Hurricane Irma.Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt said on his Facebook page that "initial reports are of widespread devastation" and said he feared there would be deaths due to rain-fed landslides.He said even his own house had lost its roof, adding "I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding." Seven minutes later, he reported he had been rescued.Maria's eye roared over the island late Monday night before the storm briefly dropped to Category 4 strength early Tuesday before resuming its extremely dangerous Category 5 status.Fierce winds and rain lashed mountainous Dominica for hours. A police official on the island, Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said late Monday night that there were no immediate reports of casualties but it was too dangerous for officers to check conditions."Where we are, we can't move," he said in a brief phone interview while hunkered down against the region's second Category 5 hurricane this month."The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God," Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of increasingly harrowing posts on Facebook.  Continue reading...

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