'Irma was nothing like this': Maria thrashes Puerto Rico

Tabitha Dunn
September 21, 2017

If Maria retains its strength, it would be the most powerful hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years, since a Category 4 storm swept the territory in 1932, Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

Of those storms, Irma and Maria have reached rare "Category 5" status, with sustained winds of 160mph.

In the first confirmed death, officials on the French island of Guadeloupe said one person has been killed by a falling tree.

National Hurricane Center forecaster say Maria will likely bring "life threatening flooding" from rain and storm surge.

"Maria is likely to affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by midweek as a risky major hurricane".

As of Tuesday evening, Maria had top winds of 175 miles per hour and a minimum pressure of 909 MBs. "We shall survive by the grace of God", Skerrit posted, before describing how he could hear the sound of steel roofs being torn off houses, including his own.

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The tens of thousands of Boricuas who live in Miami are anxiously staring at CNN and Twitter this morning, hoping against hope that everyone in Puerto Rico stays safe as the catastrophic Hurricane Maria rakes the island. A Hurricane watch is in effect for Puerto Rico.

Just 12 days ago, residents on the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico were sideswiped by then Category 5 Hurricane Irma.

"Everybody in Puerto Rico is getting insane over there: in the store, supermarket, everywhere", one man said at the airport.

Forecasts show Hurricane Maria approaching the islands Tuesday night and Wednesday.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m. September 20: Hurricane Maria made landfall near Yabucoa around 6:15 a.m. Melinda Echevarria tells NBC Connecticut she has not heard from her mother Janette Hernandez since 7 p.m. on Tuesday and that there is no cell service in that area of the island.

"In Martinique, reconnaissance operations are still underway but already we can see that there is no significant damage", Jacques Witkowski, France's head of civil protection and crisis response, told a news briefing in Paris.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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