Hurricane Maria, the second major storm to hit the Caribbean this month, crept toward the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday after it ripped through the small island nation of Dominica, causing widespread devastation. Hurricane Maria, an "extremely dangerous" storm, regained Category 5 strength as it churned about 205 miles (325 km) southeast of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said early on Tuesday. The storm plowed through Dominica, an island nation of 72,000 people in the eastern Caribbean, late on Monday causing widespread devastation, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a Facebook post.
In this photo Hurricane Maria is shown in the Atlantic Ocean in this NOAA's GOES East satellite as it strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane just east of the Leeward Islands. (Image: NASA)