Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands brace for possible storm impact
Without having fully recovered from Hurricane María, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are now bracing for the possible impact of Hurricane Beryl. The storm, which was initially forecasted to dissipate by the time it reached the islands, is now expected to pass as a tropical storm by the south of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Any impact, is likely to cause moderate to severe disruptions in the two US territories, neither of which has been able to restore normalcy after last hurricane season.
In Puerto Rico, where the longest US power blackout in history has not ended, the local government sought to be as prepared as possible, declaring a state of emergency, suspending work and classes on Monday, and urging residents of the more than 60,000 homes which still have temporary tarps as roofs to seek shelter elsewhere. As of publishing time, 99.7% of customers had power, and 98.12% had water services. This however, highlights the fact that there are thousands in the territory that have not had power and water restored since Maria struck last September.
In the US Virgin Islands, Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter urged residents to prepare, encouraging to take steps like checking their homeowners insurance status.
For now, the National Hurricane Center does not predict a direct impact on either US territory, but Beryl has proven to be a difficult storm to forecast. Initially expected to dissipate, the storm quickly grew in strength, and could now pass through the Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands vicinity as either a tropical storm, or hurricane. The effect of the storm will likely be felt late Sunday, and last through Monday, with large amounts of rain affecting the area.
As of the latest public advisory, Hurricane Beryl had sustained winds of 80 mph, as it heads west at 15 mph. No US territory is under any watch or warning, but that can change as the storm approaches the area.