Hurricane Maria closing in on BVI
HURRICANE Maria has intensified into a 'potentially catastrophic' category five hurricane as it continues on its collision course with British overseas territories already battered by Irma.
The US National Hurricane Centre upgraded the hurricane to its highest category after recording 160mph winds.
It has now issued warnings for islands including the British Virgin Islands - where several Jersey finance and legal firms have offices - and Montserrat.
UK International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, said the government is under no illusion about the possible impact of Maria and said they are taking steps to prepare communities.
Maria made landfall with Dominica on Monday, bringing widespread destruction.
In a Facebook post, the island's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said: 'We have lost all that money can buy.'
The storm is expected to reach the British Virgin Islands on Tuesday night and into Wednesday.
The NHC said the BVI were at risk of being hit by a storm surge with destructive waves raising the water level up to 9ft.
Meanwhile, heavy rainfall could bring life-threatening flash flooding on the islands, the NHC said.
Up to 15in (38cm) of rain is predicted to fall as Maria barrels across the Caribbean, with 'isolated maximum amounts of 20in (51cm)' expected to deluge the BVI.
BVI resident Rodney Boddy, an Old Victorian who worked at Bedell Cristin and Kleinwort Benson before leaving Jersey in 2000, said: 'There's not much that we can do except batten down the hatches.
'Life was moving on and a semblance of normality was returning to the island, for a given value of normal!
'Now it's wait and see what happens.'
Jersey couple Tim and Shona Ringsdore recently left BVI after their home was almost destroyed by Irma.