Caribbean islands double down preparations for Cat 5 Hurricane Maria

September 19, 2017

A second life-threatening Category 5 strikes just days after Irma disfigures islands of paradise.

After decimating the island of Dominica, Hurricane Maria heads for other Caribbean islands—many still buried in the wreckage of Irma—wielding maximum sustained winds of 165 mph as a Category 5 hurricane. Humanitarian relief agencies and officials throughout the region are working with Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) to quickly assess potential impacts and conduct situational analysis so relief plans can be strategically adjusted and responders can deal with extended impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria combined.

Working closely with national and international disaster managers to help assess the current situation, PDC is providing ongoing analysis and free access to its powerful DisasterAWARE technology for all critical decision makers involved with response operations. “We are assisting FEMA as well as supporting disaster management operations throughout all of the heavily affected areas of the Caribbean during Maria, and will continue to assist with response and recovery operations underway from Irma,” said Dr. Erin Hughey, Director of PDC’s Disaster Services. She said PDC was also providing onsite support to SOUTHCOM and JTF-Bravo who are supporting the work of USAID/OFDA who have the mission of providing humanitarian relief and assisting to the impacted nations.

For additional situational analysis of Maria and to follow its estimated impacts, visit

9-22 Puerto Rico scrambles to evacuate 70,000 people as Army Corps of Engineers deems dam unsafe due to damage from Maria

The worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in 80-years, Hurricane Maria’s impact continues to create dire circumstances days after its passing, rendering the Guajataca Dam in the northwestern part of the island in “imminent” danger of failure.

  • Immediate evacuation of 70,000 people is underway.
  • Power remains out in nearly all parts of Puerto Rico, including radio, television and cellphone towers. With communication down, evacuation and relief remain extremely difficult.
  • Damage assessments remain challenging. At least six have been reported dead but other fatalities throughout the country are likely according to local officials.

9-21 All of Puerto Rico remains without power, damages are catastrophic

PDC is providing continuous information and strategic on-site analysis to support the U.S. military with all forward-deployed personnel whose strategic mission is to help with evacuation, relief, and delivery of much needed goods and supplies to Puerto Rico and all areas most affected by Irma and Maria.

  • Completely devastated and without power throughout the entirety of Puerto Rico, population impacts and casualties remain uncertain.
  • Among the many types of informational support PDC is offering to FEMA and disaster management agencies throughout the Caribbean, the Center is assisting with infrastructure and population information, open street map data, as well as satellite imagery to help responders identify safe helicopter landing locations such as sports complexes, fields, potential for delivery of much needed goods to affected areas.

9-20 All of Puerto Rico without power after Maria makes landfall

Puerto Rico is completely devastated and without power throughout the entirety of Puerto Rico, population impacts and casualties remain uncertain.

  • The death toll from Maria on the island of Dominica continues to rise.
  • After ripping through Puerto Rico, thrusting dangerous hurricane-force winds of 155 mph and wiping out electricity for the entire population, Maria moves on with warnings in effect for Turks and Caicos Islands, southeastern Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.
  • According to the governor of Puerto Rico’s spokesperson, Maria caused ‘total devastation’ to infrastructure—something of historic proportions.

9-19 Hurricane Maria’s extremely dangerous path and projected impacts
Maria is projected to slam the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico after leaving a path of life-threatening storm surge and rainfall over Guadeloupe.

  • After being devastated by Irma only one week prior, widespread damage reports flowed in from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with pleads for help from those trapped in compromised buildings. Major flooding is was reported from St. Thomas.
  • Seven are reported dead after Maria struck the small island nation of Dominica.
  • Dominica leveled by Maria’s Category 4 winds, ripping rooftops from buildings and creating ‘widespread devastation’ as described by the prime minister.
  • Raging over the island of Guadeloupe in the Atlantic, Hurricane Maria drops torrential rainfall and Category 5 force winds, the extent of damage is still uncertain.
  • Maria will smash into the U.S. Virgin Islands Tuesday night (the territory’s second encounter with a Category 5 hurricane in one week).
  • Millions of Puerto Ricans will face a possible Category 4 or 5 Maria—the first of its kind in more than eight decades—on Wednesday morning.

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