Puerto Rico Braces For Impact as Cat. 5 Hurricane Maria Nears - NBC 6 South Florida
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Puerto Rico Braces For Impact as Cat. 5 Hurricane Maria Nears

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Caribbean Residents Evacuate Puerto Rico to Miami

    Residents in the Caribbean who sought shelter in Puerto Rico during Irma are not evacuating the island ahead of Hurricane Maria.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017)

    The worry continues to grow in Puerto Rico Tuesday as Hurricane Maria set her sights on the island.

    The core of the Category 5 storm was expected to approach Puerto Rico Tuesday night and Wednesday.

    As of Tuesday morning, Maria had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. A dangerous storm surge of at least 6 to 9 feet was expected on the island, the NHC said.

    Officials in the U.S. territory warned residents of wooden or otherwise flimsy homes to find safe shelter. Six flights are scheduled to arrive in Miami from the nation on Tuesday, while one of the four scheduled departing flights as already been cancelled.

    Residents Leaving Puerto Rico Ahead of Maria

    [MI] Residents Leaving Puerto Rico Ahead of Maria

    NBC 6's Darryl Forges talked with one family who brought their elderly relative to Florida ahead of the major storm.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017)

    The airport at San Juan was expected to close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

    "You have to evacuate. Otherwise you're going to die," said Hector Pesquera, Puerto Rico's public safety commissioner. "I don't know how to make this any clearer."

    Jeremiah Leaver works as a bartender in St. John, but fled to San Juan because of Hurricane Irma. Now, he was forced to evacuated from Puerto Rico to South Florida. Leaver landed at Miami International Airport early Tuesday afternoon. 

    "Just adding this hurricane to the stress level figuring out where I was gonna stay in Puerto Rico. I think many other people were on the same boat," Leaver said.

    Karl Munzlinger also landed at MIA Tuesday to escape Hurricane Maria. He lives in a boat in St. Maarten, but had to evacuate becuase of Irma. For the second time in two weeks, Munzlinger evacuated again because of Maria. 

    "I evacuated on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that took us to San Juan, and I made it out of San Juan, Puerto Rico just before the bad news," said Munzlinger.

    Barry Univ. Students Return Ahead of Maria

    [NATL-MI] Barry Univ. Students Return Ahead of Maria

    NBC 6's Darryl Forges spoke with several students who were able to leave the island of St. Croix ahead of the massive storm that is on track to strike the area.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017)

    He added that Irma destroyed his boat house.

    "Both compartments flooded and the boat was pretty much totaled," Munxlinger explained. "I'd been down there for 22 years, 23 years and I got off without a scratch but the boat was totaled." 

    Erick Morales drove all the way from Sarasota to pick up his mother-in-law after she flew in from Puerto Rico, where she is still recovering from Hurricane Irma.

    "My mother-in-law was without power for 10 days, running with the generator. She just had enough. So we told her to come over here and live in Sarasota where it safe here," Morales said.

    The U.S. territory imposed rationing of basic supplies including water, milk, baby formula, canned food, batteries and flashlights.

    President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for the island and ordered Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the commonwealth. The declaration authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

    Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall on Dominica

    [MI] Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall on Dominica

    Hurricane Maria makes landfall on Dominica as it pushed toward Puerto Rico.

    (Published Monday, Sept. 18, 2017)

    The island hasn't seen a category four or five storm since 1932, and its population has doubled since then.

    While Hurricane Irma decimated islands like Barbuda, it only grazed Puerto Rico, but still knocked out electricity to 75 percent of the island. More than 60,000 customers were still in the dark.

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