The storm was a category 5 by Tuesday.

Jess McHugh
September 19, 2017

As the Caribbean continues to reel from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are preparing for the arrival of another storm.

Hurricane Maria strengthened to a category 5 storm before it touched down in the Caribbean island of Dominica Tuesday, leaving “mind boggling” damage in its wake, according to the prime minister.

“So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wrote on Facebook. “My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.”

Landfall of Hurricane Maria came just weeks after Hurricane Irma swept through the region, leaving four dead among "apocalyptic" damage, according to NBC.

The National Weather Service warned that Hurricane Maria could be "potentially catastrophic," according to their latest release. The storm is on a path toward Puerto Rico, where it could bring torrential rain and winds of up to 160 miles per hour.

RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images

Puerto Rico's governor declared a state of emergency earlier this week, ordering residents in areas prone to flood and landslide to evacuate.

"It is time to seek refuge with a family member, friend, or move to a state shelter because rescuers will not go out and risk their lives once winds reach 50 miles per hour," Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a statement.

From Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the storm is expected to move east past Turks and Caicos and toward the Bahamas, NPR reported. Unlike Irma, Hurricane Maria's projected path does not have it making landfall in the U.S.

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