Hurricane Maria has made landfall in Puerto Rico.
The National Hurricane Center says the Category 4 Hurricane made landfall early Wednesday near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. It had a sustained wind of 155 mph.
It was located about 30 miles south-southeast of San Juan.
‘This is going to be an extremely violent phenomenon,’ Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in advance of the storm. ‘We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history.’
Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico around 6:30am on Wednesday
The storm is expected to batter Puerto Rico for most of the day before moving on towards the Dominican Republic
Maria still has a large window of movement as it nears the U.S. – with the potential of making landfall in the Carolinas
As Maria made landfall on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico Wednesday morning, the winds started to kick up at San Juan on the northern coast
The above photo shows the parking lot at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico early Wednesday morning, where people were seeking shelter from Maria
Above was the view inside the Roberto Clemente Coliseum early Wednesday morning, as Maria made landfall
The winds no doubt woke up many in the temporary shelter at Roberto Clemente Coliseum Wednesday morning
A woman and a child rest on cots while waiting Hurricane Maria at Humacao Arena in Humacao, Puerto Rico on Tuesday
The number of power outages spiked as Maria approached, with the storm centered early Wednesday about 50 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moving northwest at 10 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Maria ties for the eighth strongest storm in Atlantic history, when measured by wind speed. Coming in second is this year’s Irma, which had 185 mph winds and killed 38 people in the Caribbean and another 36 in the U.S. earlier this month.
Puerto Rico had long been spared from a direct hit by hurricanes that tend to veer north or south of the island. The last Category 4 hurricane landfall in Puerto Rico occurred in 1932, and the strongest storm to ever hit the island was San Felipe in 1928 with winds of 160 mph.
An uprooted tree covers a small house in the village of Viard – Petit Bourg, near Pointe-a-Pitre, on Tuesday in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe
A motorist drives on the flooded waterfront in Fort-de-France, on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, after it was hit by Hurricane Maria on Tuesday
Earlier Tuesday, a road was flooded in the French Caribbean island of Martinique after it was hit by Hurricane Maria
A picture shows rocks swept by strong waves onto a road in Le Carbet, on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, on Tuesday
Cars drive along a road after the passage of Hurricane Maria in Guadeloupe island, France, September 19, 2017
People stand next to debris at a restaurant in Le Carbet, on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, on Tuesday
A resident walks across a road covered in fallen tree branches and leaves in the village of Viard – Petit Bourg, near Pointe-a-Pitre, on September 19, 2017 in the French territory of Guadeloupe after the passage of Hurricane Maria
Puerto Ricans have been told to ‘evacuate or die’ after Hurricane Maria laid waste to the island of Dominica on its destructive path across the Caribbean. This was the scene as Maria battered the city of Petit-Bourg on the French overseas Caribbean island of Guadeloupe today
As Maria approached, U.S. President Donald Trump offered his support via Twitter: ‘Puerto Rico being hit hard by new monster Hurricane. Be careful, our hearts are with you- will be there to help!’
More than 4,400 people were in shelters by late Tuesday, along with 105 pets, Rossello said.
The storm’s center passed near or over St. Croix overnight Tuesday, prompting U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp to insist that people remain alert. St. Croix was largely spared the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma on the chain’s St. Thomas and St. John islands just two weeks ago. But this time, the island would experience five hours of hurricane force winds, Mapp said.
‘For folks in their homes, I really recommend that you not be in any kind of sleepwear,’ he said during a brief news conference. ‘Make sure you have your shoes on. Make sure you have a jacket around. Something for your head in case your roof should breach. … I don’t really recommend you be sleeping from 11 o’clock to 4 (a.m.). … Be aware of what’s going on around you.’
Maria killed one person in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe when a tree fell on them Tuesday, and two people aboard a boat were reported missing off La Desirade island, just east of Guadeloupe, officials said.
Rescue team members Candida Lozada, left, and Stephanie Rivera, second from left, Mary Rodriguez, left at right side, and Zuly Ruiz, right at right side, merge into a hug desperate to go out to attend several calls for help from citizens in need of assistance during the impact of Maria on Wednesday
Rescue team member Jonathan Cruz cries on the floor as Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico Wednesday morning
About 40 percent of the island – 80,000 homes – were without power and flooding was reported in several communities.
The storm also blew over the tiny eastern Caribbean island of Dominica late Monday, where Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit sent out a series of dramatic posts on his Facebook page, including that his own roof had blown away.
‘The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,’ Skerrit wrote before communications went down.
The storm knocked out communications for the entire island, leaving anyone outside Dominica struggling to determine the extent of damage, though it was clearly widespread. ‘The situation is really grave,’ Consul General Barbara Dailey said in a telephone interview from New York.
She said she lost contact with the island about 4 a.m. At that point, officials had learned that 70 percent of homes had lost their roofs, including her own.
Flooding was a big concern, given the island’s steep mountains, cut through with rivers that rage even after a heavy rain. Dominica was still recovering from Tropical Storm Erika, which killed 30 people and destroyed more than 370 homes in August 2015.
Forecasters said the storm surge from Maria could raise water levels by 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 meters) near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.
To the north, Hurricane Jose weakened to a tropical storm Tuesday night. Forecasters said dangerous surf and rip currents were likely to continue along the U.S. East Coast but said the storm was unlikely to make landfall. Big waves caused by Jose swept five people off a coastal jetty in Rhode Island and they were hospitalized after being rescued.
A tropical storm warning was posted for coastal areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and tropical storm watches were up for parts of New York’s Long Island and Connecticut.
Hurricane Maria (bottom) and Hurricane Jose (top) are seen in a satellite image of the Atlantic on Tuesday