All of Puerto Rico has lost power after deadly Hurricane Maria swept through the island on Wednesday – with winds that blew the roofs off homes and flash floods that turned roads into rivers.
Leaving at least nine people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria blew ashore in the morning in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph.
While the eye of the storm has since moved off the island and weakened to a Category 3 hurricane, it’s expected to continue lashing the island of 3.4million with life-threatening winds, storm surge and rain through this evening.
‘Once we’re able to go outside, we’re going to find our island destroyed,’ said Abner Gomez, Puerto Rico’s emergency management director. ‘The information we have received is not encouraging. It’s a system that has destroyed everything in its path.’
As people waited it out in shelters or took cover inside stairwells, bathrooms and closets, Maria – the strongest storm to hit the island since the Great Depression brought down cell towers and power lines, snapped trees, tore off roofs and unloaded at least 20 inches of rain.
Widespread flooding was reported, with dozens of cars half-submerged in some neighborhoods and many streets turned into rivers. People calling local radio stations reported that doors were being torn off their hinges and a water tank flew away.
Even before the storm, Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was crumbling and the island was in dire condition financially.
Puerto Rico is struggling to restructure a portion of its $73 billion debt, and the government has warned it is running out of money as it fights back against furloughs and other austerity measures imposed by a federal board overseeing the island’s finances.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged people to have faith: ‘We are stronger than any hurricane. Together, we will rebuild.’
He later asked President Donald Trump to declare the island a disaster zone, a step that would open the way to federal aid.
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Source: Daily Mail