YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Some people in the Valley are preparing for the worst as they wait for news from friends and family living in Puerto Rico. The island territory took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria while it was still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
Youngstown resident Jeanette Morales was sitting outside Papa’s Puerto Rican Cuisine on Belmont Avenue in Youngstown, clutching her phone as she waits to hear from family living in the path of the storm.
“I carry my phone wherever I go in case someone calls me,” Morales said. “It is still not knowing and not hearing from them that worries me.”
Morales hasn’t heard from her parents or her brother since the storm hit. Her husband hasn’t heard from his family either.
“I have two other people that have come here today who are also worried about their families,” Morales said. “They are telling me the same thing that they have not been able to get in touch with any of their family members.”
Hurricane Maria’s winds topped out at 150 miles per hour as it made landfall. Within several hours, the entire island was without power. This comes just two weeks after Puerto Rico was flooded by Hurricane Irma.
A spokesperson for the mayor said the island is dealing with something of historic proportions.
Maria weakened to a Category three hurricane Wednesday afternoon, hurling winds of 115 mph. But hurricane-force gusts topping 74 mph still extend over much of Puerto Rico, the National Hurricane Center said.
The last time Puerto Rico saw a category four hurricane was in 1932. The last time a category five storm hit was in 1851.