Puerto Rico governor warns of dangerous floods after Irma blasts past island


Although the worst of Hurricane Irma's devastating winds blasted past Puerto Rico, the island's governor warns continued rain could lead to dangerous floods, rising rivers and landslides.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló says more than 1 million people on the U.S. territory are without power after the Category 5 hurricane's dangerous eye continued past its borders on a treacherous path through the Caribbean. The storm has already been blamed for nine deaths and leaving hundreds homeless after destroying areas of St. Martin, Anguilla and Barbuda.

In Puerto Rico, the government is blaming Irma for at least three deaths, including a Camuy woman who was electrocuted after she touched an electric wall socket; a bedridden 79-year-old Manatí woman who fell as she was being taken to a shelter; and a man killed in Canóvanas in a vehicle accident after conditions deteriorated. While the island appears to have avoided major devastation, the governor says trees and electricity posts have fallen on the ground, at times obstructing roads. Puerto Rico's law enforcement report 6,298 people and 501 pets are currently staying in shelters.

Rosselló says a flood warning has been issued because Puerto Rico's terrain is already drenched from excessive rain, and more storms could generate landslides and the saturation of tributary rivers, according to a press release. The most affected municipalities are Utuado, Fajardo and Culebra.

"The governor – who has worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency – spoke with United States President Donald Trump; Vice President Michael Pence; and with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly who expressed their solidarity and support to the island during the emergency," according to the release. "[Rosselló] also spoke with the US Department of Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price, who was aware of the need to allocate additional staff to address the situation."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.