The location of Hurricane Maria at 11:00 am on Sunday

The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) is advising the Dominican public to finalise preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Maria.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Dominica as of 11 am today, Sunday.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

Tropical Storm Maria is likely to become a hurricane later today and could become a major hurricane in 2 to 3 days.

At 11 am, the centre of Tropical Storm Maria was located near 13.5 North and 56.2 West or about 370 miles east-southeast of Dominica.

A calculation puts the centre of the system just north of Dominica in 36 hours; that is Monday night.

According to a statement from the ODM, ‘Maria’ is expected to strengthen and affect portions of the Lesser Antilles as a hurricane early this week bringing dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards.

Residents are therefore advised to finalise preparations for the arrival of ‘Maria’ and a Hurricane WARNING has been issued for Dominica as of 11am today, Sunday.

Fishermen must immediately begin to secure all gears and not to venture out since high seas are expected. Small craft operators must remain in port.

Shelter Managers are advised to secure keys to shelters and be prepared to open those shelters if asked to do so by the Office of Disaster Management.

All Sub-Committees of NEPO should have plans in place in the event of a response to ‘Maria’.

Persons living in low-lying areas or close to rivers, ravines and other water-ways should be on alert and move to safer areas if need be. Persons in areas prone to flooding, landslides and falling rocks should be vigilant and exercise extreme caution if they must move around. Also, persons in coastal villages should be mindful of storm surges as life-threatening sea activity is expected as ‘Maria’ continues to move across the area.

The ODM together with the local MET Service will continue to keep the public updated.