Hurricane Maria officially makes landfall in Puerto Rico
The National Hurricane Center states the Category 4 storm has touched down on the southeast end of Puerto Rico early Wednesday morning.
The city of Yabucoa experienced 155 mph winds around 2:30 AM, just 2 miles less than what would be considered a Category 5 storm. The powerful winds are preventing emergency & relief teams from reaching affected areas, as they must wait for the winds to die down to at least 50 mph.
Governor Ricardo Rosello tweeted that 10,059 refugees & 189 animals were in shelters. Puerto Rico is still housing many refugees from Hurricane Irma, and are more than likely have thousands more, especially in the Puerto Rican Convention Center located in San Juan after Maria passes.
A las 2:30AM, contamos con 10,059 refugiados y 189 mascotas.
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) September 20, 2017
The storm is expected to escalate during the hours of 8 – 10 AM EST, as the storm’s eye continues to brush through the eastern coast.
The island’s mountainous terrain should help protect many areas from large waves (ranging from 6 – 9 ft) but the amount of rain will definitely cause flooding in most areas. The lower, flatter areas are more prone to damage and had to be evacuated for safety reasons.
This is being estimated as the most powerful hurricane to ever pass through Puerto Rico since the statistics were recorded, even stronger than the previous Category 4 hurricane in 1930.
Picture courtesy of WPTV West Palm Beach