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Category 5 hurricane Maria hits Dominica island

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maria

Washington, Sep 19: The “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 hurricane Maria, the strongest storm on record to make landfall in Dominica, is battering the Caribbean island, and is on course directly hit Puerto Rico, the first time in 85 years, the media reported.

A statement from the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that its record-topping winds reached 160 miles per hour when it made landfall at 9.15 p.m. on Monday night, reports CNN.

It was so powerful that it tore the roof off the residence of the country’s leader.

“My roof is gone,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook. “I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.”

Later, he said: “I have been rescued.”

After Dominica, Maria will move towards Puerto Rico as an “extremely dangerous major hurricane, and a warning has been issued”, CNN quoted the NHC as saying.

Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello has declared a state of emergency ahead of the landfall expected on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump has issued an emergency declaration for the American territory for federal assistance to augment the island nation’s storm-response initiatives.

Puerto Rico housing authorities said there are 450 shelters able to take in 62,714 evacuees, and up to 125,428 in an emergency situation.

If Maria strikes the island as forecast, it will be “more dangerous than Hugo and Georges”, the Centre said.

Hurricane Hugo killed five people in Puerto Rico in 1989, and Hurricane Georges caused more than $1.7 billion in damage to the island in 1998.

The storm will affect parts of the Leeward Islands and the British and US Virgin Islands for next couple of days.

Maria comes after the catastrophic hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25 resulting in massive floods and deaths of 83 people.

Harvey was followed by Irma, the most intense storm in the Atlantic. It hit the Caribbean islands on August 30, leaving a trail of destruction through Puerto Rico, Cuba and Florida and killed 82 people.

IANS

Cities

Heavy rainfall in Andhra, Tamil Nadu this weekend – IMD

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New Delhi, Dec 11 : A low pressure intensifying in the Bay of Bengal is expected to bring a heavy spell of rain to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by this weekend, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday.

“The low-pressure area over central parts of the south Bay of Bengal and adjoining equatorial Indian Oceans is likely to intensify into a deep depression during the next three days, bringing moderate to heavy rainfall in the south coastal Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu,” the IMD said.

With wind speed expected to reach 50-60 km/hour, the IMD has also issued a warning to fishermen to “not venture into the above sea areas”.

According to the Skymet Weather’s forecast, the low-pressure area is tracking in west-northwest direction towards Tamil Nadu coast. “As the system nears, we expect scattered rains to commence over coastal Tamil Nadu including Chennai around December 14,” it said.

By December 17, however, this weather system will move away towards northwest leading to a significant decrease in rain activity.

For the next 48 hours, the IMD has forecast the Chennai skies to be generally cloudy. The maximum temperature will be 31 degrees Celsius and the minimum 24 degrees Celsius.

IANS

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Tsunami alert on Pacific islands after 7.5-magnitude earthquake

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Earthquake

Noumea (New Caledonia), Dec 5: A 7.5 magnitude quake hit the coast of the Pacific island of New Caledonia, prompting warnings that tsunami waves of up to three metres can reach New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The quake struck at a depth of about 10 kilometre at 4.18 GMT, the US Geological Survey reports. The epicentre was recorded as 168km east-south-east of Tadine, a town on France’s New Caledonia.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management though tweeted that there was no tsunami threat to the nation’s coasts even though the tsunami alert issued for coasts within 1,000km, the BBC reported.

The USGS also recorded a series of aftershocks, two of them at 5.9 magnitude.

New Caledonia has a population of about 270,000 and is part of the Pacific’s “ring of fire”, where many earthquakes occur.

IANS

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Tremors felt in Uttarakhand

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Earthquake

Dehradun, Dec 4: A quake measuring 3 on the Richter scale was felt in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand early on Tuesday forcing residents to rush out of their houses, officials said.

The tremors were felt in the Barkot region for a few seconds at around 6.20 am. Its epicentre was in Yamunanagar in Haryana, District Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal said.

IANS

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