Saba, Sint Eustatius await Hurricane Maria

This visible image of Hurricane Maria was taken from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sept. 18 at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 UTC) as it strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane just east of the Leeward Islands.
This visible image of Hurricane Maria was taken from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sept. 18 at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 UTC) as it strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane just east of the Leeward Islands.. Photo: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

Saba and Sint Eustatius are anxiously awaiting Hurricane Maria, which is set to pass close by the islands in the course of the morning or early in the afternoon. Hurricane Maria increased in strength and is now considered a category 5 hurricane, the strongest category, with wind speeds up to 260 kilometers per hour, BNR reports.

The two islands, that are special Dutch municipalities, will not face the full force of the hurricane on its current course. The eye of Hurricane Maria will not pass over Saba and Eustatius. According to Weerplaza, the chance of winds reaching hurricane speeds of 118 kilometers per hour on the two islands, decreased from 40 percent to around 15 percent. Sint Maarten, which was by almost two weeks ago, is in less danger.

The Dutch authorities already sent teams of marines to Saba and Sint Eustatius, according to ANP. The Dutch Navy deployed the ships Zr. MS. Zeeland and Zr. MS. Pelikaan first to Curacao, to load up emergency supplies. Then the Dutch ships are heading for Saba ad Sint Eustatius. Hurricane Maria is currently causing destruction on the Dominican Republic and will then move over Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

Sint Eustatius and Saba survived Hurricane Irma quite well, but what they will look like after Hurricane Maria, remains to be seen. "I hope the damage of this storm remains limited, but I am worried", Clarisse van Haersma Buma, director of nature organization STENAPA on Sint Eustatius, said to BNR. "Now we are more in the danger zone, instead of Sint Maarten."

In addition to damage on the island, Van Haersma Buma is also worried about damage the hurricane will do to coral in the ocean around the island. "The mud eventually ends up in the water and on the coral. That coral is a very important ecosystem where fish grow, it is important for fishing and also important for tourism."

Tags: