Hurricane Maria has knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico.
The director of the State Agency for Emergency Management and Disaster Management, Abner Gómez, said in a press conference that 100 percent of the subscribers of the island’s Electric Energy Authority are affected.
“When we can get outside – we will find our island destroyed,” Gómez said. ” The information we received is not encouraging. It’s a system that has destroyed everything it has had in its wake.”
The storm has also destroyed 80 percent of the homes in a neighborhood in Catano, a suburb of San Juan, Catano Mayor Felix Delgado told The Associated Press.
Metal roofs were flying off buildings and windows were breaking in San Juan, Puerto Rico even before Hurricane Maria made landfall as a Category 4 storm on the island’s southeastern coast early Wednesday morning. Those who sought shelter at a coliseum in San Juan were moved to the building’s second and third floors.
— Mike Theiss (@MikeTheiss) September 20, 2017
Puerto Rico’s weather radar stopped operating as the storm came ashore, transmitting its last image around 5:50 a.m, the Washington Post reports.
There are reports of widesrpead damage on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands as a result of Hurricane Maria, the VI Consotrium reports, and many are pleading for help in compromised buildings.
Earlier in the week, Hector Pesquera, public safety commissioner on Puerto Rico, pulled no punches as he urged residents to flee ahead of the storm.
“You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Pesquera.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello told the Associated Press Tuesday that Maria could hit the island “with a force and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations.”
“We’re going to lose a lot of infrastructure in Puerto Rico,” he said, adding that an islandwide power outage was likely and communication blackout could last for days. “We’re going to have to rebuild.”
On Monday, President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as thousands prepared for the possibility of another strike from a major hurricane. The declaration allows federal assistance to be made available to the islands for response efforts, the president said in a statement.
The storm killed at least two people on the island of Guadeloupe after making landfall Monday night as a Category 5 hurricane. It is forecast to hit the US Virgin Islands with hurricane-force winds on Tuesday and Puerto Rico early Wednesday morning. Seven deaths have been reported from Dominica.
“No generation has seen a hurricane like this since San Felipe II in 1928,” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló said Tuesday. “This is an unprecedented atmospheric system.”
Authorities in both territories are warning people to leave the islands or find a place in a shelter and not to try to ride out the storm in their own homes, many of which were damaged or remain without power in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Here is the latest news out of both islands.
U.S. Virgin Islands
There are reports of widesrpead damage on St. Croix as a result of Hurricane Maria, the VI Consotrium reports, and many are pleading for help in compromised buildings.
Photos and videos posted to social media out of the US Virgin Islands show major flooding on St. Thomas. On St. Croix, WTJX reporter Bob Tonge said the roads are blocked with downed wires and electrical poles.
WTJX is also reporting numerous roofs have been ripped off buildings in Christiansted town. Roads there impassable and galvanized sheets are still tumbling from around from the winds.
— U.S. Virgin Islands (@usvirginislands) September 20, 2017
Recovery may be a long road as the island chain is short on crucial supplies, according to internal briefing documents obtained by POLITICO.
“There are supplies that are literally out to sea right now that are not being brought in,” FEMA spokesman Don Caetano told Politico by phone from St. Croix on Monday. “Had Maria not been a factor, those supplies would have been there already.”
Metal roofs were flying off buildings and windows were breaking in San Juan, Puerto Rico even before Hurricane Maria made landfall as a Category 4 storm on the island’s southeastern coast early Wednesday morning.
According to the Associated Press, nearly 900,000 people were already without power as the storm approached. Those who sought shelter at a coliseum in San Juan were moved to the building’s second and third floors.
As the worst of the storm hit, people calling local radio stations reported that doors were flying off hinges and a water tank flew away in the island’s southern region, the AP reports. Meanwhile, widespread flooding was reported in the capital of San Juan, with water running down one apartment’s interior staircase.
The National Weather Service in San Juan published a statement Wednesday morning asking the public to please stay in place as major flooding and hurricane-force winds will occur across all of Puerto Rico until later Wednesday afternoon or evening.
Earlier this week, President Trump declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico. In addition to the emergency declaration, Puerto Rican officials began rationing vital supplies, including water, baby formula, batteries, milk, canned foods and flashlights, according to the Associated Press. Gasoline and other fuels were not among the supplies that were rationed, the report added. READ MORE