By Azania Post Reporter
HURRICANE Maria is now in category 3 which continues with its destructive path across the Caribbean nearing Turk and Caicos Islands.
According to US National Hurricane center (NHC), the storm, is east of the island of Grand Turk with winds of 205km/h (125mph).
Puerto Rico has completely lost power, and is being subjected to heavy rain and flooding, with possible mudslides.
Two people are confirmed to have died there, bringing the death toll so far across the region to 19.
At least 15 lost their lives in Dominica, and 20 are still missing after the storm swept through on Monday. Two others perished on the French island of Guadeloupe.
Local media in Puerto Rico have reported additional deaths, and the total number may not be known for days.
After Hurricane Irma, Maria is the second major storm to hit the Caribbean this year.
Hurricane warnings are in place for British territory the Turks and Caicos and the south-eastern Bahamas, where the storm is heading next.
Officials in the Turks and Caicos have opened new shelters as several used during Hurricane Irma earlier this month are not expected to withstand further damage, AFP reported.
A warning remains in effect for parts of the Dominican Republic, which Maria passed on Thursday. The northern coast is still being battered and heavy rains have triggered flooding.
In Puerto Rico, Governor Ricardo Rossello described Maria as the most devastating storm in a century.
"The biggest concern is the amount of rain and flooding, particularly in the west," he told local radio.
Rossello added that Maria had hit the island's electricity grid so badly that it could take months to restore power.
US President Donald Trump said the storm had "totally obliterated" the US territory, and declared it a disaster area, freeing up emergency relief funding.