Hurricane Maria Slams Into Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, pounding the U.S. territory with huge waves, massive rain and fierce winds and shutting down the power grid across the entire island of 3.4 million people.
Maria made landfall on the island’s southeast section early Wednesday as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles an hour, the most powerful hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since a 1928 storm that killed more than 300 people.
As Maria tore across the island, floods coursed through neighborhoods. Storm surges rose 5 feet above ground level in spots, according to the National Hurricane Center. By early afternoon, Maria had been downgraded to a Category 3 storm, moving off the island’s north coast while still delivering strong winds and heavy rains.
Carlos Anselmi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Puerto Rico, said rainfall estimates ranged from 15 to 35 inches around the island and were breaking records and triggering flooding. Buoys measured storm surges of 20 to 25 feet, he said.