Storm of the century: Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico as a deadly Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds – and it’s the strongest storm to hit the island in 85 years

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By Paul Martin

Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico around 6:15am Wednesday
It’s expected rage across the island for most of the day before moving on towards the Dominican Republic
This is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the island since 1932
Most of the island is still without power after a brush with Irma earlier this month
More than 4,400 people were in shelters on Puerto Rico late Tuesday night, along with 105 pets
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 eight deaths – seven on Dominica and one on Guadeloupe
The hurricane made it’s first landfall on Dominica as a Category 5 storm on Monday
Dominica’s consul general says she’s heard that 70 per cent of homes on the island lost their roofs

20 September 2017

Puerto Rico is currently hunkering down as it’s hit with the strongest storm since the Great Depression.
Hurricane Maria made landfall early Wednesday in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, and it was expected to punish the island with life-threatening winds and flooding for 12 to 24 hours, forecasters said.

Officials have warned that the storm would decimate the power company’s crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities.

Maria had previously been a Category 5 storm with 175 mph winds, but was downgraded as it slashed its way through the U.S. Virgin Islands overnight.

‘This is going to be an extremely violent phenomenon,’ Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in advance of the storm. ‘We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history.’

Metal roofs were already flying and windows were breaking as the storm approached before dawn, with nearly 900,000 people without power and one tree falling on an ambulance.

Those who sought shelter at a coliseum in San Juan were moved to the building’s second and third floors, reported radio station WKAQ 580 AM. More than 4,400 people were in shelters by late Tuesday, along with 105 pets.

As of 9am, the eye of the storm was centered about 17 miles southeast of San Juan and clocking sustained winds of 145mph.

As the hurricane approached Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service issued a warning, saying Maria’s winds could cause ‘catastrophic damage’ and ‘life-threatening rainfall and flooding having possible devastating impacts’.

‘There is no comparison between what Puerto Rico got before with Irma and what it will get this time with Maria.

This is a disaster in the making,’ Accuweather’s Dr. Joel N. Myers said. ‘All parties in Puerto Rico and the nearby islands need to know how serious this threat is. The damage done by wind gusts from the last storm (Irma) of 50 to 60 mph will pale in comparison to winds that may reach 140 from Hurricane Maria.’

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