The Caribbean islands are reeling after being battered by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and now Maria. The destruction in St. Martin, Dominica and Barbuda among many, has been catastrophic. Hurricane Maria, the most recent hurricane to hit the Caribbean, grew stronger as it prepared to collide with Puerto Rico and did some of the worst damage in the U.S. commonwealth’s history. According to the BBC, all of Puerto Rico’s inhabitants, some 3.5 million people, will be sitting in the dark for the foreseeable future after Maria ripped through the island, wreaking havoc along its path.
The storm reached Category 5 status just before making landfall on the eastern side of the island in Yabucoa, where it descended to a Category 4 and pummeled the island with 155mph winds. Maria reverted back down to a Category 3 as it pulled across land, with winds of up to 115mph leaving behind downed power lines and a power grid that is in severe need of repair.
“We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history,” said Governor Ricardo Rosselló in an address to the people of Puerto Rico.
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) September 20, 2017
Here’s the eye of Hurricane Maria (around noon EST today) as it departed the island between the coasts of Barceloneta and Arecibo. The island isn’t out of the clear yet, however.
Credit: NOAA / El Nuevo Día
According to El Nuevo Día, while the worst may be over, the tail of the hurricane is still very dangerous and people should take heed.
This video shows the path the hurricane took as it went up to a Category 5 and back down to a Category 4 as it struck the island’s Eastern coast.
• Landfall in Puerto Rico as Cat 4
• Eye 15 miles from San Juan
• 150 mph winds, 25 in of rain expected pic.twitter.com/2c5a69iG9Y
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 20, 2017
Maria brought 155 mph winds and 25 inches of rain.
Several people took to social media to show the damage Hurricane Maria has wrought on Puerto Rico.
— Liam Martin (@LiamWBZ) September 20, 2017
The flooding was extremely powerful.
The whole island is currently without power.
BREAKING: #HurricaneMaria knocks out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, which is home to 3.5 million people.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 20, 2017
Previous reports stated that hurricane-related power outages could last up to six months.
The Red Cross has set up dozens of shelters across the island.
— Jessica Piffero (@therealjpiff) September 20, 2017
Some seeking refuge had never done so in their lives, even though Hurricane Irma had passed through several days before.
Most people at Puerto Rico's largest shelter say it's their first time ever in life seeking refuge from a storm in a shelter. pic.twitter.com/agw4zBKVvs
— Ahmed Shihab-Eldin (@ASE) September 20, 2017
Once Maria landed, the hurricane was relentless.
This is what it looks like in San Juan as Maria makes landfall near southeast coastal town of Yabucoa at 6:15 am EST with winds of 155mph pic.twitter.com/yxqmuagK9J
— Dánica Coto (@danicacoto) September 20, 2017
Even with calls coming in for rescue, it was too dangerous for the police to go out and brave the storm.
— Leyla Santiago (@leylasantiago) September 20, 2017
Barricades weren’t enough to keep doors and windows from being blown away.
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) September 20, 2017
Governor Rossello is asking for the island to be declared a disaster zone for immediate relief and support.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 20, 2017
San Juan Mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, fought back tears as she discussed the destruction she witnessed.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 20, 2017
As of now, there is a curfew in place to keep non-essential responders off the streets and roads to make rescue operations more effective.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, announced a 6 pm to 6 am curfew effective Wednesday until Saturday https://t.co/lOyw05OsZg
— NYT National News (@NYTNational) September 20, 2017
The non-profit group Center for Popular Democracy has set up the #MariaFund to help raise funds to support low-income communities impacted most by the hurricane.
— Popular Democracy (@popdemoc) September 20, 2017
Our thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico and all those affected by this devastating hurricane season.