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September 18, 2017 - Hurricane Maria Makes a Mess of Puerto Rico

Friday, September 18th 2020, 6:01 am - Just weeks after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey devastated cities around the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Maria hit numerous islands in the Caribbean.

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On September 18, 2017, Maria reached sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h), just before making landfall on Dominica, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the island.

Dominica suffered an island-wide communication blackout and much of the housing stock and infrastructure were left beyond repair, while the island's lush vegetation was practically eradicated.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit called “mind-boggling” devastation in a region already devastated by Hurricane Irma. “We have lost everything that money can buy, and that is a fact,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.

Maria was also the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years — destroying homes, roads and bridges, knocking out power across the entire island.


One month after the hurricane, 88 per cent of the island was without power (about 3 million people), 29 per cent lacked tap water (about 1 million people), and 40 per cent of the island had no cell service.

At least 3,000 people died from the hurricane, 97 per cent of those in Puerto Rico.

Damages are estimated at US$91 billion, making it the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record. In 2018, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Maria from its rotating lists of hurricane names, due to the highly extensive amount of damage and loss of life it caused along its path.

"This Day In Weather History” is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

Thumbnail courtesy of World Vision

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