Hurricane Maria Makes A ‘Ferocious’ Landfall In Puerto Rico And Promptly Destroys A Major Radar Station

Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southeastern corner of Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm at around 6:15am local time on Wednesday. Previously an “extremely dangerous” Category 5 hurricane when it struck Dominica and other Caribbean islands, Maria’s status abated slightly just before its inner eye wall began crossing into Puerto Rico. And to make matters worse, per CNN’s Brian Stelter and many other reporters covering Maria’s landfall, the storm promptly destroyed a major radar station feeding images to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center and the media.

Reporting from Maria’s landfall, CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh told the New Day anchors he’d “never seen anything like this” just before a sudden gust of wind and rain knocked him and his camera crew back. “The most ferocious gust we’ve seen so far,” he later explained, once he and the cameraman were able to return to their posts on a protected balcony overlooking a beach. Meanwhile, in the capital city of San Juan, correspondent Leyla Santiago documented Maria’s arrival while congregating with first responders and stranded residents sheltering in place at a hotel.

During a subsequent report broadcast live on CNN, Santiago described Maria’s arrival as “ferocious” event that had littered San Juan’s streets with all kinds of debris — including bits and pieces of stripped-down trees.

Maria’s landfall — as well as its subsequent trek across the U.S. territory — makes it the strongest storm to strike the island nation since 1928. What’s more, the hurricane’s Category 4 status earned it another record-breaking distinction — that of the first storm of such a category to hit Puerto Rico since 1932. Amazingly, CNN adds Maria’s average wind speed clocked in at 155 mph, which is merely 2 mph below the threshold for a Category 5.

(Via CNN, NBC News and ABC News)