SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico faced Wednesday what officials said could be the strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. territory as they warned it would decimate the power company’s crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities.
Maria barreled toward the island with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and was expected to make landfall Wednesday midmorning along Puerto Rico’s southeast coast as a Category 4 storm, punishing the island with life-threatening winds for 12 to 24 hours, forecasters said.
Maria had previously been a Category 5 storm with 175 mph (281 kph) winds.
“This is going to be an extremely violent phenomenon,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history.”
The number of power outages spiked as Maria approached, with the storm centered early Wednesday about 50 miles (75 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moving northwest at 10 mph (17 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Maria ties for the eighth strongest storm in Atlantic history, when measured by wind speed. Coming in second is this year’s Irma, which had 185 mph (300 kph) winds and killed 38 people in the Caribbean …read more
Source:: Black America Web