Hurricane Irma Leaves 1 Million Without Power in Puerto Rico, Kills 10 in Caribbean
Hurricane Irma hits Puerto Rico hard with power outages
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.
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.
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.
“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.