Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on Puerto Rico in almost a century, has ravaged the island and knocked out electricity supply across the island, the media reported. Governor Ricardo Rossello told CNN on Wednesday night that the entire system was down.
“Puerto Rico, which has been through a long recession and is deeply in debt, has a power grid that is a little bit old, mishandled and weak,” Rossello said.
“It depends on the damage to the infrastructure… I’m afraid it’s probably going to be severe. If it is, we’re looking at months as opposed to weeks or days.”
The Governor told CNN that at least one person was killed in the storm when a board was ripped from the house it had been nailed to by the wind and hit the victim.
“We still don’t have a lot of information… We’re virtually disconnected in terms of communications with the southeast part of the island.”
Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, a US territory with 3.3 million people, earlier on Wednesday as a category 4 storm, reports Efe news.
After moving past Puerto Rico, it has now weakened to a category 2 storm and was currently advancing towards the eastern part of the Dominican Republic with winds of up to 175 km/h, the Washington-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) announced.
The hurricane, which made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday as category 4, is located 90 km east-northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and is moving toward the northwest at 19 km/h, according to the United States National Hurricane Centre (NHC).
The NHC said that Maria will continue moving towards the northwest, although a decrease in forward speed is expected through Thursday night and that a turn to the north-northwest will likely occur on Friday.
It is also expected to strengthen during the next day or two and could regain major hurricane status by later Thursday.
A hurricane warning was still in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques, from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas.
The once-major hurricane has already killed seven people after it made landfall on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica on Tuesday, said Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
Browne said he had been communicating with the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who reported “widespread devastation” and whose own house was shredded by the storm.