Hurricane Irma slams Puerto Rico

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Hurricane Irma was already hammering Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon, even as its powerful eye was still 90 miles east over the Virgin Islands.

Nearly 300,000 people had already lost power and some 4,000 had no water, according to reports.

The director of Puerto Rico’s public power company warned that some areas could be without power for four to six months because the infrastructure has already deteriorated so badly as a result of ongoing budget cuts on the financially strapped US commonwealth.

“The dangerousness of this event is like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “A lot of infrastructure won’t be able to withstand this kind of force.”

The National Weather Service tweeted that the capital, San Juan, should brace for winds up to 80 mph as the storm, which is packing maximum sustained winds up to 185 mph, barrels west toward the island at about 16 mph.

The storm slammed Barbuda when it made landfall there at 1:47 a.m. and is expected to pass about 30 miles north of San Juan between 6 and 8 p.m., according to Rosello’s office.

Irma’s “life-threatening” surge is expected to rise up to six feet above ground level on Puerto Rico’s northern coast and up to four feet above ground level on the southern side of the island, according to the National Weather Service.

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Weather Alert Online: Hurricane Irma slams Puerto Rico
Hurricane Irma slams Puerto Rico
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