See update on yesterdays deadliest earthquake in Mexico in more than 30 years at the bottom of this post. ~TLB ed.
Maria Slams Puerto Rico With 9-Foot Storm Surge, 155Mph Winds
“We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This”
by Tyler Durden
Hurricane Maria made landfall near the city of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, at around 6:15 am Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center, battering the densely populated eastern side of the island with torrential rains and 155 mph gusts as hundreds of thousands of people hunkered down in one of the island’s 500 storm shelters in hopes of riding out the second major hurricane to impact the island within two weeks.
Category 4 Maria slammed the island with winds of 155 mph, just 2 mph short of category 5 status.
The island’s governor has said the hurricane will likely cause “catastrophic” damage to the island’s power grid and infrastructure, much of which has yet to be repaired following Hurricane Irma, which didn’t make landfall in Puerto Rico, but passed close enough to cause $1 billion in damage. As Bloomberg points out, Maria is the fourth major hurricane and 13th storm in the Atlantic this season that’s wreaked havoc from Texas to the Caribbean and left dozens dead.
According to the NHC, the storm made landfall around 6:15 a.m. The NHC has instituted hurricane watches and warnings for many of Puerto Rico’s neighboring islands.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques
* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
* Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* St. Maarten
* Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti
* Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
* Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is saying Maria is “potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit” the U.S. territory in a century. Rossello said up to 25 inches of rain could fall in some areas and he urged anyone in a flood-prone, mudslide-prone or coastal area to leave.
#Maria made landfall near Yabucoa, PR, around 6:15am AST -maximum sustained winds 155 mph (250 km/h) http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/al15/al152017.update.09201034.shtml …?
“It is devastating, indeed, mind boggling,” Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica’s prime minister, said in a statement. The eastern Caribbean nation with a population of 75,000 has “lost all what money can buy and replace,” he said. Skerrit said he was rescued after the roof of his house was torn off by the storm.
At least six people have died on the island of Dominica, according to a spokeswoman for the government in London. “Damage is extensive throughout the island,” she said, “and people are walking the streets in a delirious state of mind.” With all lines of communication down, the government was relying on amateur radio, or ham radio, operators for updates, according to Bloomberg. In addition, at least two have been confirmed dead on the island of Guadalope.
Meanwhile, vacationers and honeymooners visiting the island confronted a troubling reality earlier this week: With flights quickly filling up ahead of the storm, many tourists found themselves stuck on the island, forced to ride out the hurricane in whatever hotel or accomodations they had booked.
[According to media reports], calls for rescue immediately started pouring in. But first responders weren’t expected to be able to help immediately because they’d been ordered to head indoors when sustained winds reached 50 mph. Thousands of Puerto Ricans did obey calls to seek refuge in emergency shelters. “As of 2:30 a.m. we count 10,059 refugees and 189 pets (in shelters),” the island’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, tweeted.
[According to meteorologist Derek Van Dam:]
“This could potentially be the strongest hurricane to ever reach the shores of Puerto Rico,” he said from San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital.
“A lot of people remember or have heard of the storms that hit in 1928 and 1930. Well, guess what? This could pale those in comparison. … It will go down in the record books.”
[Media outlets reported], … long range models keep Maria away from the US coastline after it passes through the Caribbean and the Bahamas this week… Shane Mill, a meteorologist at MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland [said,] “But I am not comfortable saying the entire East Coast is out of the woods yet,” he said.
Update: Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in more than 30 years.
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