Rivers of mud stream through Puerto Rico as deadly Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds makes direct hit on island

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By Paul Martin

Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico Wednesday morning as a Cat. 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds
As of 11am ET, the eye was located 25 miles west of San Juan and clocking wind speeds of 140mph
It’s expected to rage across the island for most of the day, before heading back into the Caribbean tonight
Maria is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the island since 1932
More than 4,400 people were in shelters on Puerto Rico late Tuesday night
The National Hurricane Center says little change in strength is expected in the coming 48 hours
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

By ASHLEY COLLMAN
DAILYMAIL.COM
20 September 2017

The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since the Great Depression pummeled the island on Wednesday, tearing off roofs and doors, toppling cell towers and unleashing heavy flooding in an onslaught that could deepen the U.S. territory’s financial crisis.

Maria, which left at least nine people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, blew ashore in the morning in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph. It was expected to punish the island with life-threatening winds, storm surge and rain for 12 to 24 hours.

As people took cover inside stairwells, bathrooms and closets, Maria 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 is waiting out the storm in a hotel in San Juan, told CNN 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.

The storm threatened to ravage the island’s already crumbling power grid and 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.

The Rest…HERE

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