Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico with record-breaking rains.
The most powerful hurricane to hit the island in nearly a century brought ravaging winds and rainfall on Wednesday, destroying homes, knocking out all of the power, and snapping concrete poles in half. Maria wrecked many repairs that had just been completed after Irma swiped at Puerto Rico two weeks ago.
The National Hurricane Center reports that the island could receive an additional 4–8 inches of rain through Saturday. Puerto Rico remains under a watch for life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Grist contributing writer Eric Holthaus pointed out some surprising stats regarding Maria’s rainfall on Twitter:
- In one day, parts of Puerto Rico received 24–36 inches of rain. Compare that to Houston, which received 32 inches in three days during Harvey.
- In Caguas, a city in the mountains of eastern Puerto Rico, rain gauges measured more than 14 inches in one hour — apparently a candidate for a new world record.
- For reference, Caguas got more rain in a single day (nearly 40 inches) than Seattle does in an average year (37 inches).
After Puerto Rico, Maria headed toward the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Southeast Bahamas — bringing debilitating rain with it.