The people of the Caribbean area and the southeastern portion of the United States cannot seem to catch a break as Hurricane Maria makes landfall. The category 4 hurricane marks the third major hurricane to hit the area within the last two weeks. One of the biggest victims of Maria's power was Puerto Rico.
As of this writing, 100 percent of the island is without power according to government reports.
"This is total devastation," said Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's governor. "Puerto Rico, in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same. ... This is something of historic proportions."
Roofs are peeling off. You can hear the wind. This is in the metropolitan area of Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico. #Maria#HurricaneMariapic.twitter.com/QNu5fS7DnD— Rosaline Cabrera (@rosalinetweets) September 20, 2017
With Hurricane Harvey, Houston, Texas and surrounding areas saw the most damage. Hurricane Irma took out Caribbean villages and flooded the normally busy streets of Miami, Florida. Hurricane Maria headed straight for the island of Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory has some 3.4 million people living on it. Those who stayed on the island experienced pounding winds of up to 110 mph at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Hurricane Maria remained a Category 4 hurricane as it made landfall. At its peak, Hurricane Maria reached 175 mph.
#Maria will be the 3rd category 4 #hurricane to make US landfall in the same season- unprecedented in the modern era pic.twitter.com/6MybxyXNYr— Eric Blake (@EricBlake12) September 20, 2017
Winds continue to howl across the island and rain is still pelting residents. Rivers on the island flooded in just hours. At 1 p.m., nearly half of the river gauges on Puerto Rico reported "major flooding" with flash flood warnings being activated. The National Weather service reported earlier today that a tide gauge reported a 5.3 ft spike in high tide.
At 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, Maria became the first Cat 4 hurricane to directly hit the island since 1932.
Maria Ravages Other Islands
Early Monday morning, Maria also became the first Cat 5 storm to hit the island of Dominica in recorded history. The devastation came as Maria went from a Category 1 storm into a massive Cat 5 in just 18 hours. The next strongest storm to ever get close to Dominica was David in 1979 with 145 mph winds. For hours, Dominica was stripped of call communication power; thus, the rest of the world is just now learning of the island's destruction.
Seven people died on the island of Dominica, according to the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. Gaston Brown, the PM, was in communication with Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. Skerrit's own house was ripped to pieces by the storm.