Hurricane Maria is now a Category 2 storm, weakening after battering Puerto Rico today as a powerful Category 4 with sustained winds of 155 MPH. However, forecasters say it's believed the storm will strengthen and could become a major hurricane again by Thursday.
Officials say the entire island of Puerto Rico is without power just hours after the huge storm made landfall. Puerto Rico Office of Emergency Management Agency says anyone who has electricity is using a generator.
Residents there had been preparing for the worst after Maria battered the Caribbean Tuesday as a Category 5 storm, killing at least 7 people on the island of Dominica.
Reports from Puerto Rico indicate roofs have been ripped off, doors blown off, and windows shattered.
Widespread flooding was reported across the island, with dozens of cars half-submerged in some neighborhoods and many streets turned into rivers.
The U.S. territory's governor calls this the biggest and potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in a century.
— Joint Cyclone Center (@JointCyclone) September 20, 2017
"This is without a doubt the most dangerous storm in our generation," Gov. Ricardo Rossello said.
He shared a Facebook post asking the world to #PrayForPuertoRico:
Thousands have sought refuge in shelter, and some fled to Florida to get away from the storm.
"I was glad, I was so so glad to get on that flight and know it was going to take off," said evacuee Vikrim Budhrani. "It's been a bit of an emotional ride. It's my first hurricane that I saw from Irma, and I really didn't want to stick around for this next one."
The storm first made landfall in Dominica -- the only Category 5 hurricane to hit the island.
In the neighboring Virgin Islands, the U.S. Navy evacuated all military personnel ahead of the storm.
After Puerto Rico, Maria is expected to turn north, away from Florida. It could threaten the U.S. East Coast, but forecasters say there's a chance it could head out to sea instead.
Puerto Rico had long been spared from a direct hit by hurricanes that tend to veer north or south of the island. It did suffer a glancing blow from Hurricane Irma two weeks ago. The island suffered power outages and up to a billion dollars in damage from Hurricane Irma, but was spared the worst of it.
The last Category 4 hurricane landfall in Puerto Rico occurred in 1932, and the strongest storm to ever hit the island was San Felipe in 1928 with winds of 160 mph.
Meanwhile, CBN's Operation Blessing is still at work helping victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
The ministry has helped people in more than 28 cities in Texas and Florida with relief supplies like food and water, and volunteers to help clean up the damage. They also bring spiritual aid and comfort to the victims.
So far, Operation Blessing has mobilized more than 5,000 volunteers in Texas alone.
How You Can Help: Give to CBN Disaster Relief