Reports: Hurricane Maria delivers catastrophic blow to Puerto Rico; 100 percent of island left without power

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, AccuWeather staff writer
September 20, 2017, 1:44:56 PM EDT


Maria continues to wallop islands in the northern Caribbean that suffered serious damage from Irma less than two weeks ago.

Maria became the second Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane around 6:15 a.m. AST Wednesday.

After Maria pulls away from Puerto Rico, it will impact the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas through late this week.

Dominica took a direct hit from Maria on Monday night shortly after it strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane. This is the first recorded Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Dominica. Tropical Storm Erika devastated the island just two years ago, killing at least 31 people.

Maria is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since the San Ciprian hurricane in 1932.

Satellite imagery shows Hurricane Maria Wednesday afternoon as it tracks over Puerto Rico. (Image/NOAA)

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For previous reports on Maria, click here.


The entire island of Puerto Rico is now without power, according to multiple news reports. Earlier Wednesday, Gov. Rosello asked President Trump to declare the island a disaster area.

El 100% de Puerto Rico está sin energía eléctrica en este momento.

— B. Torres Gotay (@TorresGotay)

JUST IN: 100% of Puerto Rico is without power amid Hurricane , Puerto Rico OEM tells @ABC News. https://t.co/eFID0SUxLV pic.twitter.com/2Jhxq6pKCi

— ABC News (@ABC)



As of 12:03 p.m. AST Wednesday, Maria is delivering record and life-threatening flooding in Puerto Rico.

Several gauges reported record levels along the Rio Grande De Manati and Rio Grande de Arecibo rivers.

(Image/NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service)


The below tweet shows severe flooding on the La Plata River.

This river in central Puerto Rico is running an incredible 17 feet above the previous record high flood stage. pic.twitter.com/nPaOTwxNaL

— Brett Anderson (@BrettAWX)


In addition to the staggering floods, hurricane-force winds have been reported around Puerto Rico and even on neighboring islands.

A wind gust of 113 mph was reported in San Juan with a gust of 137 mph reported on Isla Culebrita.

Gov. Ricardo Rosello said 80 to 90 percent of the island was without power and he expected the entire island to lose power eventually.

Maria is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on Puerto Rico since 1932.


In its 11 a.m. AST Wednesday update, the National Hurricane Center says the center of Maria is approaching the northern coast of Puerto Rico. It is currently 15 miles east-southeast of Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Maria is moving to the northwest at around 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph.

One report states that 80 percent of the structures in the community of Juana Matos, located in the city of Catano, Puerto Rico, have been destroyed.

Alcalde de Cataño estima que el 80% de las estructuras en la comunidad Juana Matos quedaron destruidas. Detalles #HuracánMaría

— B. Torres Gotay (@TorresGotay)


The Guayama River has overflowed its banks and is now inundating neighborhoods as of 9:35 a.m. AST. Flash flood emergencies are in place around Puerto Rico.

Flash flood emergency for Rio Grande de Manati. This covers Florida, Barceloneta, Ciales and Manati until 400 PM.

— NWS San Juan (@NWSSanJuan)


This aerial shot shows the inundated Hato Rey section of San Juan.



In a Facebook , Wednesday morning, Hartley Henry, the principal advisor to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, said there is a "tremendous loss" of housing and public buildings on the islands.

"It's difficult to determine the level of fatalities but so far seven are confirmed, as a direct result of the hurricane," Henry stated.

There has been little communication with outer communities, but reports from people who walked 10 to 15 miles toward the city of Roseau report total destruction of homes, roads and crops.

Urgent helicopter services are needed to take food, water and tarpaulins to outer districts for shelter, according to Henry.

"In summary, the island has been devastated," he wrote.


At least eight deaths have been confirmed from Maria in the Caribbean as of 8:08 a.m. AST Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

Rescue team members Candida Lozada, left, and Stephanie Rivera, right, merge into a hug desperate to go out to attend several calls for help from citizens in need of assistance during the impact of Maria.



Extreme winds from Maria are pounding Fajardo, Puerto Rico.


As of 7:17 a.m. AST Wednesday, the National Weather Service in San Juan said the San Juan metro area will experience winds of 115 mph or greater for the next two to three hours.


Maria made landfall near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, at 6:15 a.m. AST Wednesday, as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

Puerto Rican news outlet Radio Isla 1320 reports more than 884,000 customers without power.


At least two people have been reported dead in Guadeloupe after the island suffered Maria's wrath on Tuesday. According to TeleSur TV, one man fell out of a tree, and another's body was found near the ocean. Local officials said 40 percent of homes are without power, and 25 percent are without phone service.

Flooding has been reported in Puerto Rico. One creek overran its banks in Guarbo earlier Wednesday morning. On the Rio de le Plata, water has risen from 6 to 21 feet in less than 12 hours. The river is considered to have reached flood stage at 11 feet.

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