Cat 4 Hurricane Maria slams Puerto Rico

If only we treated them like real Americans:

Hurricane Maria slammed into eastern Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning as a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm, bringing vicious winds, storm surge and rain to areas across the island before weakening to a Category 3 by the afternoon.

As of noon local time, 100 percent of customers of Puerto Rico’s sole energy provider were without power, according to the island’s emergency and disaster management agency.

The hurricane’s eyewall passed over Vieques around 4 a.m. Eastern time before heading toward the main island, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm made landfall on the eastern part of the island, near Yabucoa, around 6:15 a.m. with wind speeds of up to 155 mph.

Maximum wind speeds had slowed to 140 mph by 11 a.m., the NHC said.

Maria is expected to move off Puerto Rico’s shore by the afternoon and start traveling northwest toward the Dominican Republic. It will likely remain a dangerous hurricane for the next few days and gain intensity as it moves across the water, bringing “life-threatening storm surge” to the islands in its path, according to the NHC.

“This is the most devastating storm either in a century or quite frankly in modern history,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN on Wednesday. “What’s critical right now is for people to recognize that the breadth of the storm is still to come. There’s a lot of flooding, there’s a lot of infrastructure damage, but the only thing that should matter right now is that people should stay safe.”

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