natural disaster

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As Puerto Rico begins a slow recovery from Hurricane Maria's destruction, many Puerto Ricans in Connecticut are struggling to find ways to help  family members in need of food and water.

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Robert Fuller was loading his car with supplies in San Juan, getting ready to leave the battered capital for a trip inland to survey damage to local health facilities, when we caught up with him by phone.

Lori Mack/WNPR

New Haven has been given a class 7 rating by the National Flood Insurance Program. That’s the highest rating available in the state. 

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In a tiny sliver of shade, on a hill next to Puerto Rico's Route 65, Kiara Rodriguez de Jesus waves a sparkly pink hand fan to keep cool.

"I trust in God," she says. "Please, come the gas."

Along with her family, parked in a Volvo SUV, she has been in line for gasoline since 3 a.m., she says. Now it's after 1:30 p.m. And like everyone else at this gas station, she has no idea how much longer she'll be waiting.

Irma Rivera Aviles, like nearly 200 others, is stuck at a shelter in Cataño, Puerto Rico, where conditions are getting worse daily. Nearly a week after Hurricane Maria rampaged through the country, she's desperately pleading for help. "The governor needs to come here and take a look at our critical situation," she says. "The bathrooms flooded and aren't working, sewage is overflowing, the generator is broken and we are here in the dark."

"We desperately need water, power and ice," she says.

On the side of a busy expressway in northern Puerto Rico, dozens of cars stand in a line, parked at careless angles off the shoulder. Drivers hold their phones out of car windows; couples walk along the grass raising their arm skyward.

This is not a picturesque stretch of road. It's about 90 degrees out, and the sun is beating down relentlessly. All you can hear is the rumble of cars and trucks passing by, sometimes dangerously close. Then, inside a Ford Escape near the edge of the highway, Casandra Caba exclaims, "Look!"

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

Even though Maria has weakened to a Category 4 storm, it remains a dangerous hurricane. Maria's maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph. The National Hurricane Center says the storm should keep that intensity until it makes landfall. Puerto Rico has long been spared from a direct hit by a hurricane.

Updated at 2:20 a.m. ET Wednesday

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Maria is an extremely dangerous storm. It was a Category 5 storm when it hit the island of Dominica. Later it was downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane. But a short time ago, forecasters says Maria had regained the strength of a Category 5 hurricane.

Updated at 3:15 a.m. ET Tuesday

Roughly half of Florida's homes and businesses remained without electricity on Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. A lot of the business recovery efforts there will depend on how quickly power can be restored.

On her way to work Tuesday morning, Carol McDaniel, vice president of human resources for the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, made her way through darkened neighborhoods.

New York National Guard

Marty Goldberg has run a grocery store on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas since 1975, and he called Hurricane Irma the absolute worst storm he’s ever seen.

Frank Tavares

Floridians are gauging the extent of the damage from Hurricane Irma, which continues to weaken as it heads northwest up the peninsula. 

National Hurricane Center

Millions sought refuge as Irma charged its way through Florida over the weekend. This hour, we get an update on the storm’s impact.

Updated at 5 a.m. ET Monday

Irma has weakened since beginning its push up central Florida, but is still a Category 1 hurricane with winds near 75 mph and higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its center is about 60 miles north of Tampa and continues to move along the northwest coast of the Florida peninsula. The NHC says Irma is expected to weaken to a tropical storm this morning and tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.

Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez / Air National Guard

Insurance companies are still in the midst of settling claims from Hurricane Harvey. Now they must prepare for possibly an even bigger impact from Irma.