News & Opinion | September 20, 2017 8:59 am

Hurricane Maria Knocks Out to Power to Entire Island of Puerto Rico

Arriving just weeks after Hurricane Irma, Maria could be most catastrophic storm in island's history.

Hurricane Maria
Trees are toppled in a parking lot at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 20, 2017, during the passage of the Hurricane Maria. Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, pummeling the US territory after already killing at least two people on its passage through the Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center warned of "large and destructive waves" as Maria came ashore near Yabucoa on the southeast coast. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Just weeks after Hurricane Irma tore across the northern part of Puerto Rico, residents of the U.S. territory are bracing themselves for Hurricane Maria, which has already left two people dead and two people missing in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico’s governor said that the latest storm is “the biggest and potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in a century,” according to ABC News.

As a Category 5 storm, Maria, made landfall Wednesday morning in Puerto Rico and, within hours, its powerful winds knocked out power to the entire island. It was also expected to bring life-threatening floods, mudslides, and a six to nine-foot storm surge.

Maria’s winds had decreased to 160 mph from 175 mph on Tuesday, reports ABC News, but it remains an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm. Up to 25 inches of rain could fall in some areas. Puerto Rico’s governor reported that 300 people were already in shelters the day before the storm arrived. “We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history,” he told ABC News on Tuesday. 

Puerto Rico residents posted their preparations for the storm on social media, showing boarded up windows and other preventative measures.

Puerto Rico was last hit by a Category 5 storm in 1928. Most models show it avoiding Florida and the U.S. mainland, according to ABC News.