What once was a tropical storm has become Hurricane Maria, and has strengthened to a Category 3 with winds at 120 mph. It is expected to become at least Cat 4 by Tuesday into Wednesday, and has taken aim at Puerto Rico. That island hasn’t seen a direct hit from a hurricane for years. There are thousands of people there still without power from Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane watches and warnings have gone up in the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. An evacuation order was issued for flood prone areas of Puerto Rico and a state of Emergency was declared.
— VA-TF1 / USA-1 (@VATF1) September 17, 2017
— Bill Karins (@BillKarins) September 18, 2017
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 18, 2017
Maria is not following the exact same path as Irma, but even a glancing blow to the US Virgin Islands and a direct hit on Puerto Rico would be catastrophic. Thousands of people are still without power in Puerto Rico. The US Virgin Islands were totally devastated by Irma as we previously reported.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said at a news conference Sunday that the storm could bring more rain, wind and water than Irma, which killed three people there.
Rosselló said 46,000 people — or about 85 percent of customers in the metropolitan area of the capital, San Juan — remained without electricity. Another 6,000 were still without drinking water.
The US Coast Guard has “hurricane proof hangars” on Puerto Rico where they store their aircraft for rescue missions. But a direct hit…no one knows what that will do. It can’t be good.