Federal officials say they are prepared to help
President Trump said on Wednesday that he had “never seen” winds like the ones generated by Hurricane Maria as it made landfall in Puerto Rico.
“We have a big one going right now — I’ve never seen winds like this — in Puerto Rico,” he said as he entered a meeting in New York with King Abdullah II of Jordan. “You take a look at what’s happening there, and it’s just one after another.”
The king extended his “condolences” to residents in the path of the three storms that have hit the United States over the last several weeks, adding, “For us sitting on the outside, looking at how the Americans came together at a difficult time, is really an example to everybody else.”
On CNN, Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that the agency was well positioned to help on Puerto Rico and on the United States Virgin Islands.
Mr. Long confirmed that both areas had fragile power systems. “It’s going to be a very frustrating event to get the power back on,” he said.
‘There was howling in every part of this house,’ said a St. Croix resident.
Residents of the Virgin Islands, whose homes were damaged by Irma two weeks ago, had been urged to find new shelters to ride out Maria.
The storm began pounding the Virgin Islands on Tuesday evening, and a flash-flood alert was sent to residents’ cellphones at 10:05 p.m., Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp of the United States Virgin Islands said. He had warned that hurricane-strength winds were likely to batter the islands until Wednesday morning.
The core of the storm passed south of the Virgin Islands, with the outer eyewall lashing St. Croix.
“There was howling in every part of this house,” said Ernice Gilbert, a journalist who lives on the east side of the island. “In my area, the winds were ferocious.
Communications were largely out across the United States Virgin Islands on Wednesday, and its government was assessing the damage, said Garry Green, the emergency operations supervisor at the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency.
The United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism said it was encouraging travelers to postpone trips there.
The government of the British Virgin Islands extended a curfew until at least Thursday morning as workers cleared roads and assessed the damage from Maria. But the island seemed to have been largely spared.