Maria’s blackout: Puerto Rico in total darkness after hurricane devastates island’s electrical grid knocking out 100% of the island’s power while nearly two feet of rain turns roads into rivers of mud

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By Paul Martin

The entire island of Puerto Rico is without power after Hurricane Maria swept through the U.S. territory today
Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico Wednesday morning as a Cat. 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds
As of 2pm, the eye has moved off shore and has weakened to a Cat. 3 storm with 115 mph winds
The storm is next headed to the Dominican Republic, where it’s expected to strike tonight
The Turks & Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas will see hurricane conditions Thursday evening
Before hitting Puerto Rico, Maria battered St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands for about five hours overnight
So far, Maria has been blamed for nine deaths – seven on Dominica and two on Guadeloupe

20 September 2017

All of Puerto Rico has lost power after deadly Hurricane Maria hit the island with 155 mph winds and nearly two feet of rain on Wednesday.

Maria, which has already been blamed for nine deaths in the Caribbean, blew ashore around 6:15am in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 hurricane 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 Puerto Rico with life-threatening winds, storm surge and rain through this evening.

As people took cover inside stairwells, bathrooms and closets, Maria – the strongest storm to hit the island since the Great Depression – slowly crossed the island, knocking down communication towers, snapping trees and unloading at least 20 inches of rain. Widespread flooding was reported across the island, 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.

Mike Theiss, a National Geographic photographer who was waiting out the storm in a hotel in San Juan, toldCNN that the winds sound ‘like a woman screaming at the top of her lungs’.

‘It’s a very high pitched wailing sound. And it’s coming through every crack in this building right now. Every now and then we hear a big piece of debris hit the wall and it will tremble a little bit,’ Theiss said.

As the storm ravaged the island’s already crumbling power grid, it threatened to worsen its economic woes.

Puerto Rico is struggling to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt, and the government has warned it is running out of money as it deals with 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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