Puerto Rico—and its 3.5 million residents—is “100% without power” hours after Hurricane Maria ripped through the Caribbean island.
Maria made landfall as a Category 4 storm, the strongest to hit the U.S. territory in more than 80 years, early Wednesday, bringing winds of 155 mph that tore down trees and ripped roofs off homes. Maria also dumped at least 20 inches of rain over some areas, causing heavy flooding and landslides.
More than 500 shelters were set up for residents to take cover. Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, ordered a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew until at least Saturday.
Pictures from San Juan Luis Munoz Marin Airport in Carolina reveal severe flooding on the runways.
The extent of the storm's damage is still unknown, with many areas cut-off from communication without power, which could take weeks, if not months, to restore.
"Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this," Felix Delgado, the mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told the Associated Press.
American Airlines reported that 55 flights were canceled Wednesday due to Maria. The airline said customers with flights to certain airports could re-book without change fees.
Delta issued a travel waiver from Sept. 19-26, allowing passengers flying out of San Juan to change flights without being charged a fee.
United Airlines issued a waiver from Sept. 18-30, from the following airports: Aguadilla, Providenciales, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, San Juan, Santiago, and Santo Domingo.
Marriott International, which operates Puerto Rican properties including the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, said hurricane protocols are in place and “plans are in place to evacuate and close our hotels if local authorities or conditions require such action.”
Hotels in the area are waiving hotel cancellation and change fees, but Marriott said details vary depending on the property.
The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort said in a post on Facebook that it has waived cancellation fees for upcoming stays and are not accepting any new reservations through Saturday, Sept. 23rd. The hotel encouraged guests with reservations for this week to reschedule.
The Hilton Dorado del Mar Beach Resort said it has decided to suspend operations until Hurricane Maria has passed.
El Conquistador resort in Fajardo reportedly suffered severe damage and was relocating guests.
Cruise Lines, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, and more, have all announced changes to their Caribbean itineraries.