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Hurricane Maria hits Martinique, pummels Guadeloupe

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 00:46

Hurricane Maria, the second major storm to hit the Caribbean this month, hit the French island of Martinique and then lashed Guadeloupe’s southern shores Tuesday, as it tracked northwest toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Hurricane Maria, the second major storm to hit the Caribbean this month, hit the French island of Martinique and then lashed Guadeloupe's southern shores as it tracked northwest toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Martinique escaped the hurricane largely unscathed but a communications blackout with Guadeloupe meant it would be several more hours before damage there could be assessed, a senior French Civil Protection official said on Tuesday. "In Martinique, reconnaissance operations are still underway but already we can see that there is no significant damage," Jacques Witkowski, France's head of civil protection and crisis response, told a news briefing in Paris. He said the hurricane was currently less than 70 km (43.5 miles) south of Guadeloupe. "Right now we're in a blackout zone, so it's very, very hard to communicate with Guadeloupe," Witkowski said. Video footage released by the Guadeloupe prefecture showed tree-bending winds whipping through deserted streets and shaking lamp posts when the storm first hit. It urged residents to stay indoors and take shelter in their most secure room.

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Hurricane Maria hits Martinique, pummels Guadeloupe

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 00:46