SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (CBSMiami) — Puerto Rico took a beating from Hurricane Maria – the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory in nearly 90 years.
The destructive Category 4 hurricane is taking it’s time tearing across the island.
Hurricane Maria’s winds made quick work of Puerto Rico’s trees and roofs while torrential rain flooded streets.
Maria made landfall early Wednesday on Puerto Rico’s southeast coast then spent the day clobbering the rest of the island.
With the storm still raging, few ventured out. Debris blew past cameras and signs were easy targets for 140 mile per hour winds.
Parts of the island may see up to 25 inches of rain, raising the threat of mudslides.
Puerto Rico’s governor who went door-to-door Tuesday urging residents to get to safety says more than 7,000 people went to shelters.
Evacuees in a hotel had to move to the lobby then an emergency stairwell.
Power is out across the island and there’s no timetable for getting the lights back on. Maria may have been the final blow to the power company’s already crumbling infrastructure.
In the island of Dominica – one of Maria’s first stops in the Caribbean – the storm turned deadly there and knocked out communications.
Clean-up has started on Guadeloupe where Maria also claimed lives and damaged homes.
Overnight, Hurricane Maria passed near St. Croix in the US Virgin islands, downing trees and ripping off roofs.