Hurricane Maria wreaks devastation in Puerto Rico: AIR
Hurricane Maria took direct aim at Puerto Rico on Wednesday, Sept. 20, thrashing some islands already left in ruins by Hurricane Irma, and razing areas that had previously escaped damage, according to catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide.
Maria was downgraded slightly to Category 4 before it made landfall on Puerto Rico. This is Puerto Rico’s first direct landfall from a Category 4 storm in 85 years since the notorious 1932 San Ciprian storm, the firm said.
Maria’s winds are causing widespread and severe damage, reportedly ripping roofs and non-structural elements from buildings and launching debris left from Hurricane Irma’s destructive rampage the week before. Maria brought a storm surge of 6 – 9 feet to Puerto Rico, and is inundating the country with between 12-18 inches of rain, with isolated amounts of up to 25 inches.
Hurricane-force winds across the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico caused widespread power outages. Reported impacts include damage to buildings such as broken windows, doors and roofs flying off, and damage from flying debris. Trees were snapped and uprooted.
According to the National Weather Service, predicted marine conditions included seas of 20-30 feet, with some 40 foot seas or higher, which may have caused damage to marina structures, as well as overturned or broken boats.
The National Weather Center reports that Maria’s centre will move offshore of Puerto Rico’s northern coast and pass offshore of the Dominican Republic’s northeast coast Thursday, moving towards the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas Thursday night and into Friday.
Although its intensity is likely to fluctuate over the next few days, Maria is forecast to remain a Category 4 or stronger hurricane as it draws closer to the Dominican Republic.
Get the latest re/insurance news sent to your inbox every day - Sign up to our free email newsletters