Puerto Rico’s Guajataca Dam Fails As Authorities Frantically Advise Everyone To ‘Evacuate Now’

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As Hurricane Maria charts a course for the northern Atlantic Ocean, the devastation it leaves behind in the Caribbeanespecially Puerto Rico — remains an ongoing problem for residents and rescuers alike. For example, on Friday afternoon the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico issued severe warnings for the Isabela and Quebradillas municipalities, located on the northwestern part of the island. The Guajataca Dam, which manages the waters of a lake and river bearing the same name, had failed, causing the authorities to begin evacuations.

“This is an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION. Busses (sic) are currently evacuating people from the area as quickly as they can,” read a tweet from the National Weather Service’s station in San Juan. “All Areas surrounding the Guajataca River should evacuate NOW. Their lives are in DANGER!”

According to NBC Washington, an additional alert issued on the NWS website advised anyone reading it who lived near the dam to “[m]ove to higher ground now.” Describing the ensuing flash floods downriver as an “extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation,” the alert added that residents should “not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.”

(Via National Weather Service and NBC Washington)