Rose Minutaglio
September 07, 2017 10:52 AM

The highly destructive Hurricane Irma has left 1 million Puerto Rico residents without power as it continues to roar through the Caribbean, reports NBC News.

The Category 5 hurricane with 180 mph winds hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday night after smashing a string of small northern Caribbean islands.

Although the eye of the storm stayed off shore, the U.S. territory with over 3 million people was hit hard, according to officials.

“From the center of operations that we have over here in San Juan, there is pretty significant damage already done,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN.

Rescue staff investigates an empty flooded car during the passage of Hurricane Irma through Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
Carlos Giusti/AP

On Thursday morning, Rosselló said the government was assessing damage and working to bring power back to Puerto Rico.

“Our objective was and is to save lives,” he told NBC News. “Now comes the evaluation of the damages and reconstruction.”

Officials also warn citizens that the danger is far from over — flash flooding and additional rain through Saturday are major cause for concern.

Pointe-a-Pitre, on the French overseas island of Guadeloupe.

Kait Parker, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, told NBC that “a tremendous amount of rainfall over Puerto Rico … means that flash flooding is one of our biggest concerns.”

Irma — one of the strongest storms ever recorded on the Atlantic — has killed at least 10 people in St. Martin, St. Bart, Barbuda and Anguilla.

Turks and Caicos Islands
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“It is an enormous disaster … I am in shock,” Daniel Gibbs, chairman of a local council on St. Martin, told Radio Caribbean International.

The storm is predicted to hit U.S. mainland on Sunday and Florida Governor Rick Scott has ordered an evacuation.

“(A) storm surge could cover your house. We can rebuild homes — we cannot rebuild your family,” said Scott.

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