VIDEO: St Kitts & Nevis braces for Hurricane Maria on Independence Day
Instead of celebrating the Federation's 34th anniversary of Independence, residents of St Kitts and Nevis are instead preparing for the effects of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Dominica on Tuesday night before moving on to Guadeloupe this morning.
St Kitts & Nevis are currently under Hurricane Warning and Flash Flood Watch.
By mid-morning, residents were reporting heavy winds and rains, as well as power outages in various parts of the island. The water supply was turned off in phases from Monday evening as a precautionary measure.
The National Emergency Management Agency said in a 5 a.m. bulletin that Maria, which is fluctuating between Category 4 and 5, is expected to pass "uncomfortably close" to St Kitts and Nevis later today.
Residents have been urged to stay indoors until the all-clear has been given by authorities after Maria moves away.
Prime Minister Timothy Harris tweeted this morning:
"Fellow citizens, residents & visitors to our precious Federation of #SKN I am praying & thinking of you all on this fearsome independence"
At 8:00 a.m., the centre of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 16.2 North, longitude 62.8 West. Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through Wednesday.
On the forecast track, the eye of Maria will move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea today, and approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight and Wednesday.