Hurricane Maria Pounds Puerto Rico, en Route to the Dominican Republic
Maria on Tuesday evening heaved in the eastern Caribbean about 60 miles (190 km) southeast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where a 13-million-barrel oil storage facility is located, newswires report. Brokers suggest it is too early to assess the impact on this facility.
The hurricane made impact with Puerto Rico on Wednesday at around 0615 am EDT, becoming the strongest storm to hit the state since 1928 according to the National Hurricane Centre. At present, 60% of Puerto Rico is without power, which will likely rise to near 100% once Maria passes the island according to Puerto Rico's Governor. Meanwhile, seaports are expected to remain closed for at least two days. Operators of terminals in neighbouring islands are still monitoring the storm and assessing damage before making operational decisions. It is possible that several Caribbean oil storage terminals that temporarily closed ahead of Hurricane Irma earlier this month might be forced to shut again due to Hurricane Maria, including NuStar Energy's 13M barrel terminal in St. Eustatius and Statoil's South Riding Point terminal in the Bahamas.
Maria is expected to move across Puerto Rico throughout the rest of the day, before turning northwestward on Thursday, nearing the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday morning. At present, it is too early to know if the hurricane will threaten the continental United States as it moves northward in the Atlantic.