Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: 'Total Devastation'

Puerto Rico could be without electricity for up to 6 months
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2017 7:08 PM CDT
Rescue team members embrace as they wait to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.   (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
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(Newser) – Puerto Rico could be without electricity for four to six months after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria on Wednesday, the mayor of San Juan tells NBC News. A spokesperson for the governor's office who describes the situation as "total devastation" adds to CNN: "We are 100% without power." Any electricity in Puerto Rico, including at hospitals, is currently coming from generators, ABC News reports. Maria was the strongest storm to hit the island in nearly 70 years. Puerto Rico's office of emergency management says telecommunications have "collapsed," and residents are being told to stay in their homes until Thursday due to massive flooding. More than 12,000 people are in shelters, but no deaths have been reported yet.

Maria weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with 110mph winds Wednesday but could return to at least a Category 3 after moving back out over the ocean. However, USA Today reports it's unlikely to threaten the US mainland—thanks to Tropical Storm Jose. Jose, which is currently south of New England, weakened a high-pressure ridge that had been over the eastern US and Atlantic, and a Weather Underground meteorologist says Maria will likely curve east into the path already carved by Jose. Without Jose, Maria could have followed Hurricane Irma's path into Florida. (Read more Hurricane Maria stories.)

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