ATHENS ORACLE

Hurricane Maria destroys Puerto Rico

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Dan Mic

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Hurricane Maria was the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in almost a century.  This happened all on September 20, 2017.  The last large storm to hit Puerto Rico was Hurricane Okeechobee in 1928.  What qualifies for a category 4 storm include winds up to 131-155 mph, and can cause catastrophic damage to property, humans, and animals.  The storm made landfall on September 20 as a category four storm near the town of Yabucoa.  A storm surge of more than four feet was reported.  Maria had maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.  

Maria has been blamed for causing 18 deaths in the Caribbean, including two in Puerto Rico.  There is a lot of fear the death toll will rise due to the inability to reach people with roads that are impossible to drive on due to debris and downed power lines that were caused by the storm.  It will take Puerto Rico 4-6 months to restore power to 3.5 million people.   There are early estimates that it will cost at least $30 billion dollars to repair Puerto Rico.  Intense flooding was reported, particularly in San Juan.  Trees and power lines were ripped down and houses had windows and roofs ripped off.  Ever since this damage has happened, there has been a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to try and keep people safe.

Maria left Dominica in total devastation.  It also hit St. Croix hard.  In St. Thomas there was significant flooding from Maria.  Maria headed to the Turks and Caicos as a Category 3 storm, soon after, it headed to sea.  The U.S. east coast is experiencing high surf and dangerous rip currents from the storm.

This 2017 hurricane season is quickly becoming one of the most active seasons on record.  Thirteen storms have been named, seven hurricanes and four major (Category 3 or stronger) hurricanes had formed in the season.  Harvey left Houston devastated, while Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria devastated different parts of the Caribbean and Florida.  The average number of named storms is 10.1, with an average of 5.9 becoming category three or higher.  The 2016 season only had a total of seven.  The record is from 2005 when there were 15 hurricanes.  According to the National Hurricane Center averages we may see another four named storms with one major hurricane before the season’s end.

NBC news interviewed San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz about the devastation.  “The San Juan that we knew yesterday is no longer there.  We’re looking at 4 to 6 months without electricity.”  

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