Hurricane Maria Is Threatening the Caribbean Islands
Residents of the Caribbean Islands who have just surpassed the terror and drama of Hurricane Irma are forced to prepare for Hurricane Maria. On Sunday, September 17, residents of the Caribbean who were still shifting through the Hurricane Irma’s wreckage need to prepare for a new storm in the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasters indicated that Hurricane Maria erupted, heading towards the Lesser Antilles.
Hurricane Maria precedes Hurricane Irma
Specialists claim that the storm is likely to grow in intensity as plowing west-northwest through the Caribbean. Apparently, this storm will reach major hurricane status by Wednesday as it approaches Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United States. Residents claim that no one is emotionally and physically prepared for another catastrophe like this.
Hurricane Maria appears in less than two weeks after one of the most powerful cyclones ever recorded, Hurricane Irma. The catastrophic hurricane cause landfall in Antigua and Barbuda, sweeping through Florida and the Caribbean. Dozens of people have died, and thousands of residents witnessed the powerful storm destroying their houses.
On September 17, Hurricane Maria indicated maximum sustained winds of 75 miles/hour. This storm was heading west-northwest at a speed of 15 miles per hour. Its trajectory appears to be further south compared to the one of Hurricane Irma. Forecasters indicate that the storm’s trajectory may include islands like Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Nevertheless, hurricane watches are still in effect for islands like Anguilla, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin. These territories are still struggling to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Irma while trying to find a way to recover. Even though the storm is mostly to the south of these damages islands, strong winds and heavy rain will still affect them, halting recovery efforts.
Furthermore, the new storm may produce further damage to broken buildings, causing mudslides and flash floods. Residents are desperate, without knowing how to cope with these disasters. They cannot face another terrible damage produced by a powerful hurricane. These poor people are so tired, and they do not know what to do since most of them are homeless.
People are still trying to recover after Hurricane Irma
Despite all these, they made great efforts to prepare for the arrival of the last storm, loading up on provisions and trying to board up windows. State officials developed storm shelters and provided emergency contact numbers. However, even if hundreds of people boarded up their windows and gathered water and food supplies, they felt useless in front of Hurricane Irma’s fury that swept away everything in its path.
Since a hurricane comes after another, people need to be continuously preparing. Forecasters claim that Hurricane Maria may reach Category 2 status. Its winds may reach up to 110 miles/hour by the time it will hit the Antilles chain. Later this week, the powerful storm could threaten Puerto Rico, when its winds will rise to 125 miles/hour.
More than 70% of household in Puerto Rico remained without power after Hurricane Irma. However, officials argue that the new storm might cause an even greater damage this time. Nevertheless, since the Hurricane Irma stopped, officials restored electricity to 96% of households. But now that a new storm is approaching, they fear that they will suffer greater damages since they have an already vulnerable power grid.
Government officials in the United States Virgin Islands rose awareness among residents that they should evacuate their damaged houses. They should seek refuge in government shelters and leave everything behind if they want to survive. Specialists indicate that Hurricane Irma destroyed the basic infrastructure on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas.
Issuing Tropical Storm Warning for several islands
All the residents leaving on those islands remained without telephone communication, water and electricity. Even if Hurricane Irma did not affect St. Croix too much, officials claim that Hurricane Maria could directly hit this island on Tuesday.
Locals knew that the tropical storm Maria could not raise to have the intensity of a hurricane. However, the forecast track indicates that the speed with which it moves and the winds indicate that the storm is the proportion of a hurricane. The government of France already issued a Hurricane Warning for Guadeloupe. Furthermore, they also issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Martinique.
Officials indicate that a Hurricane Warning is in effect for Dominica and Tropical Storm Warning is currently in effect for St. Lucia. They also issued a Hurricane Watch for Aguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius, Antigua, Barbuda, Nevis, Montserrat, and St. Kitts.
Climate change in the Caribbean
The Caribbean experience high salinity of drinking water, decreased agricultural and habitable area and sea level rise. Furthermore, the residents here also suffer due to diminished food security and disrupted fisheries. Climate change affected its socioeconomic resources and limited infrastructure. Caribbean islanders described their personal experiences regarding climate change as including severe weather events, increased average temperatures, and altered rainfall patterns.
Residents in the area spotted geographic changes including sea level rise, beach erosion, reduced vegetation, drying rivers, and reduced ground covers. State officials announced them that they should always be prepared to face powerful hurricanes like Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Irma.
Officials developed more efforts to archive historical and legal documents to prevent losses like the ones determined by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. They also tried to develop regional business opportunities and alternative energy. Officials promoted the use of drought-resistant crops and developed a policy on climate change education.
Specialists indicated that climate change threatens natural resources like sandy beaches and rushing rivers. However, researchers need to develop further studies to establish exactly what us the health impact of climate change when it comes to indigenous people. Also, researchers need to develop more studies on the climate change’s impact on socio-cultural, economic and geographic contexts. Residents should prepare for what is worse when forecasters announce terrible hurricanes. Desperate residents are trying to find a shelter, hoping they will see the sky clearing.
Image Source: The Independent