Hurricane Maria Brings 'Destructive Winds' to Puerto Rico: NHC

Hurricane Maria Brings 'Destructive Winds' to Puerto Rico: NHC

Hurricane Maria Brings 'Destructive Winds' to Puerto Rico: NHC

The anticipated landfall of major Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico occurred earlier Wednesday morning, as a strong Category 4 storm with peak winds of 155 miles per hour.

The center will then pass offshore of the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday and then move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.

Surface and air units from the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and British Royal Navy searched Thursday for a vessel that went missing near Vieques, P.R., during the hurricane Wednesday. "They're 5-10 footers, probably 12-15 seconds between waves".

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló told residents before the storm that 500 shelters would be available across the island.

Trump said he's been in contact with his homeland security adviser Tom Bossert - who has been spearheading the White House's rescue and relief efforts during a busy hurricane season - and that the recovery process in Puerto Rico would begin "with great gusto".

Cars drive past a damaged traffic light after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017.

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Metal roofs were already flying and windows were breaking as the storm approached before dawn, with almost 900,000 people without power and one tree falling on an ambulance.

Buildings trembled as the storm battered San Juan and sent torn off pieces of metal barricades clattering along streets.

Even before this very active hurricane season, Puerto Rico was dealing with a prolonged recession and debt crisis.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico early Wednesday, barreling north across the center of the island with powerful winds and flooding that were expected to destroy homes and leave thousands without power.

Maria is moving away from Puerto Rico, weakening to a category two storm.

Just days later, Hurricane Irma caused major damage in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys, killing at least 101 people in its wake.

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Some of the most reliable models suggested Maria would miss Puerto Rico to the north, he said.

Maria did severe damage to multiple Caribbean islands over the past 36 hours, including Dominica, Guadeloupe and the Virgin Islands.

The storm was forecast to maintain strength as it passed the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic later on Wednesday.

Edwin Rosario, a 79-year-old retired government worker, said an economic crisis that has sparked an exodus of almost half a million Puerto Ricans to the US mainland will only make the island's recovery harder.

Puerto Rico may get an additional four to eight inches of rain today through Saturday, and isolated areas may get as much as 35 inches. Puerto Rico isn't going to be the same.

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