Puerto Rico braced for impact on Sept. 20, as Hurricane Maria made landfall on the U.S. territory. The eastern part of the island, including the capital of San Juan, was hit by 155 mph winds and the videos are terrifying!
After leaving a trail of death and destruction on Caribbean island nations of Dominica, Guadeloupe and Martinique, Hurricane Maria turned her eye towards Puerto Rico. The powerful storm touched down over eastern Puerto Rico at of 8:00 AM ET on Sept. 20, according to The New York Times, hitting Yabucoa (a Puerto Rican municipality) at 6:00 AM ET. The storm, once a Category 5 hurricane, had weakened slightly, but it still brought devastating winds and storm surges of 6 to 9 feet were expected. “Almost all the trees have fallen, and I can see aluminum roofs flying,” Jerika Llano, a 27-year-old resident of Bayamón ( a town near San Juan) said. “The doors and gates vibrate because of the power of the gusts.”
Maria was downgraded to Category 4, but only slightly. When the hurricane hit Puerto Rico, it was just 2 mph short of Category 5 status, according to the National Hurricane Center (per CNN). This was the first storm of Category 4 strength or higher to hit the US territory in nearly 80 years. “This could potentially be the strongest hurricane to ever reach the shores of Puerto Rico,” CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said. “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.”
Brave people who recorded the storm’s impact posted it on Twitter. More than 11,000 people have reportedly sought refuge in shelters, according to Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, 38, though it’s probably more than that. The region has been pummeled by two other storms – Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose – in recent weeks, and Maria is just adding to the growing destruction. “For Irma, we were very prepared,” Gov. Rosselló said “Unfortunately, of course, now we’re feeling a second storm in two weeks, and this one much more devastating than the first one. Who knows what the damage will be?”
As Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, we had a LIVE view of the wind and rain from the Hurricane in San Juan. >> pic.twitter.com/6ysGwPTp7g
— WTVYNews4 (@WTVYNews4) September 20, 2017
WATCH: What it looks like in San Juan as Hurricane Maria moves ashore in Puerto Rico with 155 mph winds
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 20, 2017
— Jonathan Rolón (@Jona_nator) September 20, 2017
The rain and wind are quite significant in San Juan already this AM (video from friend).
— Kumar Rao (@KumarRaoNYC) September 20, 2017
— valentino (@vlnto) September 20, 2017
— Colby Pope (@weathercolby) September 20, 2017
Puerto Rico will likely see a ton of flash flooding, as the island’s mountains will act like a barrier and squeeze out a lot of moisture from Maria, per CNN. This could produce as much as 2 feet of rain in some places. As of Sept. 20, nine people have lost their lives due to the storm, with seven dead in the Dominican Republic and two people dying on the French island of Guadeloupe. Here’s hoping everyone stays safe in Puerto Rico until Maria’s wrath is over.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by Hurricane Maria.