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Hurricane Maria, worst in 80 years, slams into Puerto Rico

24 Setiembre 2017

La Perla, the San Juan neighborhood where the music video for hit song "Despacito" was filmed, suffered severe damages at the hands of Hurricane Maria. OK, hearing about Hurricane Maria as it now is bearing down and hitting Puerto Rico.

"When they call us, we want to go out and help", said Randy Sanders, a member of Missouri Task Force 1.

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"The area is completely flooded".

With maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour), the storm slammed into the island as a Category 5 hurricane, the NHC said.

Puerto Rico had long been spared from a direct hit by hurricanes that tend to veer north or south of the island. Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, killed 38 people in the Caribbean and another 36 in the United States, leaving a trail of widespread destruction on several Caribbean islands and the Florida Keys.

The U.S. Department of State sent a message of solidarity Wednesday to the people of Dominica and all across the Caribbean who were affected by Maria.

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In San Juan, Maria's fierce winds toppled trees and ripped away outside materials of high-rise buildings in the city, while people calling local radio stations reported that doors were flying off hinges and a water tank flew away in the island's southern region. Ramos said he hopes to begin launching helicopters by this weekends to begin inspecting the transmission lines. The island's main general hospital "took a beating" and "patient care has been compromised", he said. It added damage to the island could be in the billions of dollars.

But forecasters said the storm could again become a major hurricane by Thursday.

Mr Hartley Henry, principal adviser to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, said on Wednesday (Sept 20): "The country is in a daze".

After crossing Puerto Rico, Maria is going to pass near the Dominican Republic on Thursday, then the Turks and Caicos Friday, according to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean.

The streets of Puerto Rico's historic Old Town in the capital, San Juan, were strewn with broken balconies, air conditioning units, shattered lamp posts, fallen power lines and dead birds. The only impacts the storm will have on the east coast at this point will be dangerous surf and rip currents. "So before they can get any place, have power, they've gotta get that assessed and then repaired, and start working on going out into the community". Sanders said he's now on standby for Puerto Rico and Mexico. Former Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuno says fixing the island's aging electrical grid will be one of the government's toughest jobs. And people really just don't have a lot of information. Fallen trees and downed power poles have blocked many roads there, Collomb said. Gusty winds are also expected to continue across the BVI overnight.

Hurricane Maria, worst in 80 years, slams into Puerto Rico