WATCH LIVE: Tracking Hurricane Maria - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

WATCH LIVE: Tracking Hurricane Maria

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Hurricane Maria left a trail of destruction as it hit the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm late Monday, as forecasters warned that its catastrophic winds could leave some parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands uninhabitable for months.

Maria made landfall on Dominica, an island of 72,000 people in the Lesser Antilles, at 9:15 p.m. ET on Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It was battering Guadeloupe early Tuesday.

Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of Dominica, wrote on Facebook that his roof was gone, that his home was flooded and that he was "at the complete mercy of the hurricane." A few minutes later, he reported that he had been rescued.

"Initial reports are of widespread devastation," Skerrit said in a later post. "So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. So far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn-away roofs in the city and the countryside."

He warned that airports and seaports were likely to be shut for days.

"My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured," Skerrit added. "We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds."

NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins highlighted that Maria was one of the fastest intensifying hurricanes ever recorded. It blew up from a tropical storm into a major Category 5 hurricane in barely more than a day.

"Dominica had very little time to prepare for this monster," Karins said. "I fear what we will see during the daylight hours from Dominica and Guadeloupe. They had little time to prepare for the strongest storm of their lifetimes."

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