US East Coast residents have been told to monitor Hurricane Maria as it barrels away from the Caribbean and Puerto Rico.
The National Weather Service warned on Saturday that the storm, which has already killed at least 10 people in Puerto Rico and 30 in total, now threatens to bring life-threatening swells and rip currents to part of the southeast coast.
All of the Mid-Atlantic states – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia and West Virginia – and both the Carolinas were warned to look out for developments on Sunday and Monday.
Maria is still a Category 3 storm. It has moved away from Puerto Rico but is still wreaking havoc on the small island nation.
It is now thundering over the Atlantic and is around 250 miles from Great Abaco Island in The Bahamas.
A National Weather Service forecast map shows Hurricane Maria’s expected path from Saturday until Thursday afternoon
As the week goes on, the hurricane is expected to creep back towards the shore and come close to the Carolinas on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, bringing with it waves of up to 7ft and threatening beach erosion.
The hurricane is expected to weaken as it gets closer to land. On Saturday afternoon, maximum sustained winds at its center were 115mph.
On Friday, a dam at Lake Guajataca in Puerto Rico failed, sending gushes of water pouring down on the already vulnerable municipalities below.
70,000 people had been warned to evacuate suddenly on Friday in anticipation of the dam failure.
Maria now has The Bahamas and Bermuda in her sights. Both were included in The National Weather Service’s advisory on Saturday afternoon.
‘On the forecast track, Maria will move away from the Bahamas and offshore of the southeastern coast of the United States.
‘Interests along the Carolina and Mid-Atlantic coasts should monitor the progress of Maria. Tropical storm or hurricane watches may be needed for a portion of the coast on Sunday,’ the advisory said.
The warning on Saturday came after a terrifying torrent of water swept through Puerto Rico after a dam failed at Lake Guajataca in the northwest region.
Water was seen sweeping through the municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas after the dam sustained structural damage from Hurricane Maria.
Nearly 16 inches of rain fell in the area, significantly raising water levels on the 90-year-old dam.
Earlier, Puerto Rican authorities had scrambled to evacuate as many as 70,000 people after the National Weather Service warned that failure of the dam was ‘imminent’ and could lead to ‘life-threatening’ flash flooding.
A terrifying torrent of water swept through Puerto Rico after a dam failed at Lake Guajataca in the northwest region on Saturday (pictured)
Water was seen sweeping through the municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas after the dam sustained structural damage from Hurricane Maria. Nearly 16 inches of rain fell in the area, significantly raising water levels on the 90-year-old dam
Earlier, Puerto Rican authorities had scrambled to evacuate as many as 70,000 people after the National Weather Service warned that failure of the dam was ‘imminent’ and could lead to ‘life-threatening’ flash flooding
Water overpowers the Guatajaca dam in north west Puerto Rico on Saturday, causing more flash flooding in the region
Local residents look at the flooded houses close Lake Guajataca’s dam after it burst, bringing a torrent of water through the northwester region of Puerto Rico on Saturday
Local residents use a boat to pass next to a flooded house close to the dam of Lake Guajataca on Saturday
Residents watch as water flows over the road at the dam of the Guajataca lake after it suffered structural damage on Saturday
A house submerged by flood waters is seen close to the dam of Lake Guajataca on Saturday
The National Weather Service first learned of a ‘contained breach’ during a Friday afternoon inspection and said a full breach would result in large peak flows that could reach the coast in under 12 hours.
The center is urging people living in the area of the flash flood warning in the northwest to seek higher ground immediately.
The 345-yard dam, which was built in 1929, is used for public water and irrigation water supply, and the reservoir has a water storage capacity of 11 billion gallons.
Hurricane Maria, the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico since 1928, had maximum sustained winds of 155mph when it made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Thursday.
Governor Ricardo Rossello has said seven people have died as the result of the storm in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria also claimed lives on the neighboring islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica, which suffered major destruction.
The monster storm ripped roofs off buildings and flooded homes, leading to power outages that could last for months.
Officials said 1,360 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers had been downed, and 85 per cent of above-ground and underground phone and internet cables were knocked out.
The hurricane was expected to tally $45billion in damage and lost economic activity across the Caribbean, with at least $30billion of that in Puerto Rico, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.
Debris lays around a house submerged in flood waters near the dam of Lake Guajataca on Saturday
The US Coast Guard personnel surveys the damage to an oil dock after Hurricane Maria passed through the area in San Juan on Saturday
Vehicles drive along a flooded road in San Juan after Hurricane Maria passed through the area on Saturday
A restaurant submerged by flood waters is seen close to the dam of Lake Guajataca on Saturday
The 345-yard dam, which was built in 1929, is used for public water and irrigation water supply (Pictured, a man surveys damage to his house close to Lake Guajataca’s dam on Saturday)
Maria, the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico since 1928, had maximum sustained winds of 155mph when it made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Thursday (Pictured, Maria Luz Navarro looks out on her neighborhood of Zapateria Pizarro surrounded by floodwater on Friday)
The storm has so far claimed the lives of seven in Puerto Rico (Pictured, men walk up near colorful damaged buildings in San Juan’s ‘La Perla’ neighborhood on Friday)
Across Puerto Rico, more than 15,000 people are in shelters, including some 2,000 rescued from the north coastal town of Toa Baja.
Some of the island’s 3.4million people planned to head to the US to temporarily escape the devastation. However, the storm is still expected to wreak further havoc with rain of up to six inches expected through Saturday.
Around 5am on Saturday, Maria was moving away from the Bahamas and into the open waters of the western Atlantic as a Category 3 storm.
As it moves north, it’s expected to cause surf swells that will increase along portions of the southeastern coast of the US and Bermuda.
The hurricane was expected to tally $30billion in damage and lost economic activity in Puerto Rico (Pictured, people rest outside a damaged house in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, on Friday)
Pictured, Elias Cepeda Boria, left, and his brother, Vincente Cepeda Boria, clean up their home in the Zapateria Pizarro area on Friday
Across Puerto Rico, more than 15,000 people are in shelters, including some 2,000 rescued from the north coastal town of Toa Baja (Pictured, Liz Maries Bultron looks at the damage at a home in the Zapateria Pizarro area on Friday)
Jose Diaz Pisano salvages parts of his roof so he can rebuild in the Zapateria Pizarro area on Friday
People sit on the roof of a damaged house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, on Friday
People stop on a highway near a mobile phone antenna tower to check for mobile phone signal in Dorado, Puerto Rico, on Friday
Maria hit about two weeks after Hurricane Irma pounded the US Virgin Islands, hitting St Thomas and St John, particularly hard
The islands’ governor, Kenneth Mapp, said it was possible that two islands – St Thomas and St Croix – might reopen to some cruise liner traffic in a month.
Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, killed more than 80 people in the Caribbean and the US.
It followed Harvey, which also killed more than 80 people when it struck Texas in late August and caused severe flooding in Houston.
Wismin Right carries her belongings out of her damaged home in Wesley Village in Dominica on Saturday as the small island community reels from Maria
The Londonderry River in Dominica on Saturday was beneath broken tree branches after the hurricane passed through