January 24 2018

Puerto Rico to get direct hit from Category 5 Hurricane Maria

January 24 2018, 01:59 | Van Peters

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Maria path

"Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this", he said.

The last message from a manager arrived about 45 minutes after Maria made landfall and stated the situation was "really bad and very scary". The storm, now with winds as high as 140 miles per hour, is moving north at 10 miles per hour.

The airport and ports have been closed on the tropical island of 72,000 people.

Officials have urged residents to seek shelter and warned that the category 4 storm's powerful winds would be life-threatening. "Together we're going to get up".

In preparation, President Donald Trump has ordered an emergency declaration, freeing up disaster resources. "Most of the island is without power. or water".

More than 4,400 people were in shelters by late Tuesday, along with 105 pets, Rossello said.

Although engineers had managed to restore power to most of the island after the recent Hurricane Irma, Rossello said around 60 percent of Puerto Rico had again been blacked out. At one recently built hotel in San Juan, water dripped through the ceiling of a sixth-floor room and seeped through the window.

"I'd be lying if I say I'm not a little nervous", she said.

The Dominican Republic, whose east coast was battered by Irma, ordered citizens in part of the north to evacuate ahead of Maria's arrival.

A USA -based spokeswoman for the Rosalie Bay Resort, which is located on the east coast of Dominica, told NBC News they had lost contact with staff late Monday.

The strongest storm to ever hit Puerto Rico was San Felipe in 1928 with 160 winds miles per hour. Some strengthening is forecast during the next day or two, and Maria could regain major hurricane status by Thursday. Puerto Rico avoided a direct hit from Irma, but high winds pulled down power lines - leaving about 70,000 people still without electricity by the time Maria hit Wednesday.

Building supplies were hurriedly flown in to help islanders fix roofs torn off by Irma as Maria approached.

In 1932, the San Ciprián hurricane made landfall in late September, pummeling the island for eight long hours.

Meteorologists and weather experts expressed grave concerns about the size and strength of the hurricane as it approached Puerto Rico, after causing "mind-boggling" damage in Dominica. "Be careful, our hearts are with you- will be there to help!"

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches were in effect for a string of islands in the area, including the United States and British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda and the French-Dutch island of Saint Martin. St. Croix was largely spared by Irma.

The Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica also reported a widespread loss of communication and internet access, while relatives of students reported that they had lost all contact with their loved ones by Monday evening, as Hurricane Maria was bearing down on the island.

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