Reports: Powerful Hurricane Maria bruises Turks and Caicos; Puerto Rico governor urges calm, warns that streets are not safe

AccuWeather's picture
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
, AccuWeather staff writer
September 22, 2017, 5:19:48 PM EDT


Widespread damage and power outages have been reported in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic following Hurricane Maria's destructive impacts.

Maria became the second Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season but was downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane shortly before making landfall in Puerto Rico around 6:15 a.m. AST Wednesday.

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

Conditions will improve gradually across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic into Friday as Maria makes its way to the northwest toward the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas.

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.

Satellite imagery shows Hurricane Maria Friday afternoon as it moves past the Turks and Caicos. (Image/NOAA)

RELATED:
Will the US East Coast escape a direct hit from Hurricane Maria?
Maria to threaten lives, property in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos
AccuWeather Hurricane Center

For previous reports on Maria, click here.


Hurricane Maria has damaged parts of Puerto Rico's iconic Arecibo Observatory, the home to the world's second-largest radio telescope.

The antenna that is suspended above the telescope's 1,000-foot dish was lost during the hurricane with falling debris puncturing the dish in several places, the Universities Space Research Association said on Friday.

Damage is still being assessed at the observatory and it is unclear when normal observations will be able to be resumed.

The Arecibo Observatory sustained serious damage during Hurricane Maria. The pointy object protruding downward from the suspended platform is a 96-foot (29-meter) antenna that broke off during the hurricane, puncturing the telescope dish below. Credit: Pedrik/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0



At 2:15 p.m. AST Friday, the National Weather Service in San Juan issued a flash flood emergency due to a dam failure in northwestern Puerto Rico.

"Dam operators reported the Guajataca Dam is failing causing flash flooding downstream on the Rio Guajataca. Busses are currently evacuating people from the area as quickly as they can," the NWS said on Twitter.

This is an extremely dangerous situation. People downstream of the Guajataca Dam need to evacuate immediately.

215PM FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY for A Dam Failure in Isabela Municipality y Quebradillas Municipality in Puerto Rico... pic.twitter.com/L3utOjxspR

— NWS San Juan (@NWSSanJuan)



Ocean waters receded along Long Shore Beach in the Turks and Caicos early Friday morning as Maria approached the islands. This is similar to what happened when Irma was tracking up the coast of Florida earlier this month.

View of the absent sea, looking at Shore Club, Long Bay (don't worry, it will be back). #TurksAndCaicos pic.twitter.com/Omsa5D4ICF

— Lynne Watts (@lynnewatts)

The footage below from Destination Turks and Caicos shows rough surf along Sapodilla Bay Beach.

Happening now on our famous Sapodilla Bay Beach. #hurricane #maria #turksandcaicos #2017

A post shared by Destination Turks and Caicos (@destination_turksandcaicos) on Sep 22, 2017 at 8:06am PDT


The National Hurricane Center reports as of 11 a.m. EDT that Maria is still producing 125-mph winds as it passes northeast of the Turks and Caicos. Maria is now located about 55 miles north of Grand Turk Island and remains a Category 3 storm.

According to , a radio station in Puerto Rico, the municipality of Arecibo is reporting serious damage due to landslides. Homes have been destroyed while two hospitals suffered severe damage.

maintains 125 mph winds over Turks & Caicos. Check out this view of the #hurricane's eye, see more images @ https://t.co/kSWVaobyVC pic.twitter.com/pCF1flA0to

— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites)


Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is urging following the destructive impacts of Maria.

According to a report from the The New Day newspaper, the Puerto Rican government has confirmed six fatalities from Maria.

Aid from Fema is expected to be delivered from military planes today as flood warnings continue for the entire island.

9/22/17: Flash Flood warning for NE Puerto Rico, Flood Warning for the remainder of the island. Small Craft Advisory for all waters today pic.twitter.com/6f50rtQQiO

— NWS San Juan (@NWSSanJuan)


FEMA confirma que hoy llegan a San Juan aviones militares con suministros y ayuda de emergencia.

— José A. Delgado (@JoseADelgadoEND)


El gobierno de Puerto Rico ha confirmado seis muertes a causa del huracán María.

— José A. Delgado (@JoseADelgadoEND)



According to its 8 a.m. AST Friday update, the National Hurricane Center said hurricane conditions are occurring on the Turks and Caicos. Maria is currently about 30 miles north-northeast of Grand Turk Islands.

The Category 3 storm is packing winds up to 125 mph, and hurricane-force winds are extending up to 70 mph from its center.

A completely ruined house is seen in El Negro community a day after the impact of Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico, Thursday, September 21, 2017.



According to the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. update for Friday, Maria's eye is approaching the Turks and Caicos as torrential rain and dangerous waves begin to wane along the northern coast of Hispaniola. The storm is now about 35 miles from Grand Turk Island with sustained winds of 125 mph.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico with torrential rain and powerful winds on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2017. (Photo/FB/Municipio de Canóvanas)



Following Maria's devastating destruction in Puerto Rico, most of the airports were ordered to close until at least Friday. The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, the island's largest airport, is the only one confirmed to open on Friday.

There are also preliminary reports of in a landslide.


Hurricane Maria continues to barrel through the northern Caribbean. As of 1:45 a.m. AST Friday, the eyewall is approaching the Turks and Caicos, heading northwest at a speed of 7 mph. Torrential rain and high waves are threatening the northern coast of Hispaniola as the storm moves away from the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Maria is currently 45 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island. Sustained winds are measured at 125 mph as the storm remains a Category 3 hurricane.


Maria aftermath. Road collapsed on Northside. #usvi #stthomas #maria #hurricane

A post shared by Dan Beyer (@island.dan) on Sep 21, 2017 at 9:52pm PDT

San Juan struggles to initiate recovery efforts as communication, power & water are still scarce across the island. @CNN pic.twitter.com/ZPmPx5w41V

— Jaide Garcia (@Jaide_Garcia)
Copy this html code to your website/blog to embed this press release.

Comments

Post new comment

15 + 0 =

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.