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9/20/2017

The countries taking a double hit in the paths of hurricanes Maria and Irma

The countries taking a double hit in the paths of hurricanes Maria and Irma

The British Virgin Islands is expected to be among a number of territories to suffer a second hit by a category 5 hurricane in days.

The British overseas territory was left destroyed by Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Now, Hurricane Maria is set to inflict further carnage on the islands on Wednesday.

"It is completely unprecedented to have one category five, which has devastated large parts of the BVI, then now to be possibly having another category five bearing down on us,"  governor Gus Jaspert told the Press Association.

"Hopefully it is tracking a little bit south, but on the current trajectory we are going to have impact in terms of flooding, high wind and possible landslides or storm surges as well."

Nor is it alone. Irma swiped Guadeloupe before Maria gave it an even stronger pounding. At least one person has died there.

But it is the British and US Virgin Islands, along with Puerto Rico, that will suffer most.


As it bears down on the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) has predicted the category five storm could unleash sustained winds of up to 160mph.

Relief workers are racing to secure debris left strewn across the islands after Irma, as loose items have the potential to make the coming hurricane "more hazardous" if it is picked up by high winds.

Brigadier John Ridge, second in command of the UK's Joint Task Force, said "it doesn't look like the BVI will suffer quite the same level of wind as they did under Irma".


For parts of the US Virgin Islands, the opposite is true.

St. Croix was largely spared by Irma, which caused widespread damage on the chain's St. Thomas and St. John islands just two weeks ago. But this time, the island was expected to experience five hours of hurricane force winds.

St. Thomas and St. John will escape a direct hit.

Puerto Rico avoided a direct hit from Irma two weeks ago as that storm skirted north, but there was still damage.

As Maria's rains began to lash Puerto Rico, though, Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that the storm could hit "with a force and violence that we haven't seen for several generations."


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