More than 600,000 people are without power and nearly 50,000 without water on Puerto Rico as Hurricane Irma and its 185mph winds begin to batter the island, the AP reports. Fourteen hospitals are using generators after losing power, and trees and lights posts are strewn across some roads. Abner Gomez, director of emergency management, says wind gusts of up to 100mph could reach Puerto Rico's capital Wednesday evening. The tiny island of Culebra currently reporting sustained winds of 88 mph and wind gusts of 110mph.
Meanwhile, the government has confirmed one death on Barbuda caused by Hurricane Irma. Midcie Francis, spokesperson for National Office of Disaster Services for Antigua and Barbuda, says there has been massive destruction on the island of about 1,700 people. "A significant number of the houses have been totally destroyed," said Lionel Hurst, the prime minister's chief of staff. The strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever measured destroyed homes and flooded streets across a chain of small islands in the northern Caribbean, passing directly over Barbuda which was left largely incommunicado.