Hurricane Irma Swerves Past Puerto Rico, but Leaves 1 Million Without Power

September 7, 2017 Updated: September 8, 2017

Hurricane Irma struck a devastating path across the Carribean, killing at least nine people and leaving thousands homeless. 

Even though the eye of the hurricane moved north of the island on Wednesday night, staying mostly out at sea—it was still expected to graze neighboring areas such as the Dominican Republic, NBC News reported. 

Puerto Rico was not directly hit by the hurricane, but winds lashed the island and left more than 1 million residents in the dark, without power. That’s about two-thirds of the island’s electricity customers.

“It is an enormous disaster … I am in shock,” Daniel Gibbs, chairman of a council on St. Martin, told Radio Caribbean International.

Puerto Rico still suffered damages. Floodwaters swamped cars and houses in the region where seven rivers were now running over their floodwater levels, according to the National Weather Service office in San Juan, the capital. 

As the eye of the category 5 storm passed just north of Puerto Rico early Thursday, multiple other Carribean islands struggled with destroyed homes, flooding, and widespread damage. 

Irma also struck the small island of Barbuda leaving about 95 percent of the island completely destroyed after Wednesday’s hit. The island territories of St. Bart and St. Martin also took severe hits.  

As the eye of the hurricane passed Puerto Rico, it’s path followed the same angle, sweeping past the island of Hispaniola, home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. As of 11 a.m. ET, its eye was about 75 miles east-northeast of Puerto Plata, according to NPR

A recent tweet from NASA Sport, a short-term prediction research and transition center, showed Irma moving at 16 miles per hour with maximum winds reaching 175 miles per hour. 

On Thursday morning, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said they were now starting to assess the damage to the island and to bring back electricity, NBC News reported. 

The governor also warned that the dangerous weather was not finished, telling residents to be careful of flash flooding and more rain through the weekend. Most of the island was already filled with 2 to 9 inches of rain. 

“Our objective was and is to save lives,” Rosselló said. “Now comes the evaluation of the damages and reconstruction.”

Just yesterday a mandatory evacuation was ordered for residents in Broward County, the second-most populous county in Florida.

The evacuation applies to residents living in coastal areas east of the Federal Highway and in other low-lying areas. The evacuation goes into effect starting from Thursday, Sept. 7.

The announcement was made in light of Hurricane Irma’s expected path, which currently puts the hurricane on a course to hit South Florida on Friday evening.