By: Kyle James | 09-20-2017 | News
Photo credit: The Goldwater

Hurricane Maria Touches Down In Puerto Rico as Residents Brace for Devastation

Hurricane Maria has touched down just before dawn in Puerto Rico Wednesday with winds over 155 mph. 3.5 million people brace for the ferocious winds and rain that is expected to devastate the island. The official touch down was at 6:15 a.m. when the eye of the storm made landfall near Yabucoa which is around 45 miles southeast of the island's populated capital, San Juan.

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Winds are already toppling trees on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico prompting flash-flood warnings for the surrounding area. According to weather forecasters, the hurricane has weakened ever so slightly as it reached the island but is still Category 4 with 155 mph winds.

Rosita Galguerra is a 66-year-old retiree who is riding out the storm in the island's capitol city of San Juan with her husband. Galguerra said, "What I'm seeing is incredible. The rain is horizontal and all the trees are on the ground." Her message carried despair after seeing the effects of the storm, "The house is trembling – and my house is made of concrete with a concrete roof. The winds are like out of a horror movie and it's gusts, gusts, gusts. The island is going to be completely destroyed."

700 residents of capitol are seeking refuge in the Roberto Clemente Coliseum sports arena but had to evacuate the bottom floor when it began to flood due to a roof leak. Ominous messages from the National Weather Service over local radio warned for people with weak roofs to seek cover in their inside most rooms and bathtubs.

The island's governor, Ricardo Rossello told WKAQ 580AM on Wednesday morning, "These hours are going to be very uncomfortable. It's time to hold on and stay safe." Maria has already left a trail of destruction in Dominica and threatens to hit the east coast of the United States next.

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