Tag Archives: hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria “destroys Puerto Rico” — 100% of the state left without power

Maria adds to what is already a disastrous hurricane season, leaving 3.5 million people without electricity and many of them without a home.

Infrared loop of Hurricane Maria passing St. Croix, Vieques, and landfalling on Puerto Rico on the morning of September 20.

Maria, a Category 4 hurricane, left little in its wake as it charged through Puerto Rico head on, with sustained winds of 140 mph (220 km/h) and high-end winds of 155 mph (250 km/h). Abner Gomez Cortes, executive director of Puerto Rico’s office of emergency management and disaster administration agency said telecommunications throughout the island have “collapsed,” and even electricity has gone down. People are now struggling with backup generators — at least those fortunate enough to have one. At least 12,000 people have been forced to retreat to shelters. It’s unclear how much material damage has been done, as the danger still hasn’t fully passed.

Maria is the strongest hurricane to hit the territory since the 1928 San Felipe hurricane, as well as the most intense hurricane to hit the territory in recorded history. The fact that it comes after Harvey, Irma, and Jose, makes it even harder to overcome.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello sent a message of solidarity, saying that Puerto Rico will survive and rise through all of this.

“God is with us; we are stronger than any hurricane,” Mr Rossello said. “Together we will rise again.”

Rossello said he has asked Donald Trump to declare the US territory a disaster zone. The White House later stated it “continues to direct all necessary Federal resources to protect the people of the United States territories affected by Hurricane Maria”.

Radar imagery of Hurricane Maria from Puerto Rico at 09:36 UTC (5:36 a.m. local time), shortly before it stopped transmitting data.

So far, one fatality has been reported in Puerto Rico, but the number is expected to increase as flooding follows the intense winds. This is usually the trend: the winds do the material damage and then the floods kick in, threatening to kill even more people. According to the latest death toll, Maria has killed at least nine people: seven in Dominica and two in Guadeloupe. Rains in Puerto Rico were projected at 12 to 18 inches, with as much as 35 inches in isolated areas.

Maria is expected to not hit mainland US, just narrowly avoiding it, but this was another close call. As it goes farther and farther offshore, the storm is expected to gradually lose strength but for now, authorities warn that it’s still extremely dangerous. At this moment, Maria has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, but meteorologists warn that it could still pick up in strength.

Hurricane Maria also becomes Category 5 storm, threatens more destruction

With winds of 160 mph (260 km/h), Hurricane Maria tears through the Caribbean area, likely moving on to wreak even more havoc.

This graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line, when selected, and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated. Image credits and more information: NOAA.

This year’s hurricane season has been unusually powerful, especially in the Atlantic. After Harvey, Irma, and Jose, Maria has now grown to the highest classification possible, a Category 5 hurricane.

Maria formed on September 16 out of a tropical wave that was monitored by the National Hurricane Center starting on September 14. At 23:30 UTC on September 18, Maria strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane, making 2017 one of only six years to feature two or more Category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic in all recorded history.

The Caribbean island of Dominica, home to over 77,000 people, is first on the list for Maria. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook that the storm has already off his roof and he was “at the complete mercy of the hurricane”.

“My greatest fear is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury, possible deaths … Come tomorrow morning we will hit the road in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble.”

“Winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with.”

“My focus now is rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance. We will need help of all kinds … Dominica needs support from friends for helicopter services to get around the country [and] determine what’s needed.”

Maria seems to have the same trajectory as Irma. Image credits: NASA.

Unfortunately, Maria seems to be having a very similar trajectory to that of Irma last week. If this keeps up, it means that many of the areas just now recovering for Irma will have to brace for another impact.

Hurricane warnings remain in effect for:

  • Dominica
  • Guadeloupe
  • Montserrat
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • US Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques

 

UPDATE: Hurricane Maria has now dipped slightly to a Category 4 storm. The winds have decreased just a bit, from 160mph (260kmh) as it crossed Dominica to 155mph (250kmh). However, it remains an extremely dangerous storm as it heads through the Caribbean and towards Puerto Rico.