It has been five years since major hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico leaving behind a trail of destruction. Maria was a tropical wave that rapidly intensified into a major hurricane within an 18-hour period. Maria made landfall as a category five hurricane in Dominica with maximum winds of 166 mph. After producing extensive damage on the island it set its eyes on Puerto Rico.
Maria struck Puerto Rico, just below category five criteria, as a powerful category four with maximum winds of 155 mph. Landfall occurred early in the morning on the 20th near Yabucoa and was over land for several hours before moving back over water by late afternoon. As it moved west-northwestward through the island producing hurricane-force winds, torrential rain, and storm surge. Tropical storm force winds continued well after the center moved back over water. Maria remains the most destructive hurricane to hit the island.
The destructive winds associated with Maria brought down trees and power lines but it also damaged their doppler radar. This occurred right before the center of circulation moved on shore. Some of the photos above show how extensive the flood waters were. Portions of the island received anywhere from 5 to 20 inches of rain, the heaviest fell in the eastern half. With the mudslides, flooding, and wind damage this hurricane left scars in the communities and the hearts of those who live there.
Along with destroying the radar, the winds knocked 80 percent of the power poles and transmission lines on the island. This resulted in nearly all of the residents losing power, cell service a loss, and water supplies being knocked out. Due to the amount of destruction, the name Maria was retired from the list of Atlantic Basin names.
On Sunday afternoon, September 18th, Hurricane Fiona made landfall as a strong category one hurricane with maximum winds of 85 mph. While landfall was on the 33rd anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, the hurricane on everyone’s minds was Maria, with landfall being only two days before the five-year anniversary.
The island continues to deal with catastrophic flooding, mudslides, and power outages. As of Tuesday afternoon, 80 percent of the island still remains without power.