The island of Puerto Rico has been “destroyed” after Hurricane Maria made landfall there as a Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, according to emergency officials.
Puerto Rico’s office of emergency management confirmed that 100 percent of the U.S. territory had lost power, noting that anyone with electricity was using a generator.
Multiple transmission lines sustained damage from the storm, said Ricardo Ramos, director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Ramos said he hopes to begin launching helicopters by this weekends to begin inspecting the transmission lines.
Telecommunications throughout the island have “collapsed,” Abner Gomez Cortes, executive director of Puerto Rico’s office of emergency management and disaster administration agency, told ABC News.
As of 8 p.m. ET, Maria had weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained wind of 110 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was located about 90 miles east-northeast of Punta Cana, a popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic.
Conditions on the eastern side of the Dominican Republic had started to deteriorate by Wednesday afternoon.
Some strengthening is possible now that the storm is back over the ocean, so Maria has potential to become a Category 3 hurricane again. Maria is forecast to churn past off the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic into Thursday before moving near Turks and Caicos and the southeast Bahamas Thursday night through Friday.
The latest track has Maria curving north and eventually north-northeast. Forecast models currently show the storm continuing to weaken next week as it travels far offshore, staying away from Florida and the Southeast coast. The only impacts the storm will have on the east coast at this point will be dangerous surf and rip currents.
Puerto Rico pummeled by the powerful storm
Cortes described Maria as an unprecedented storm, adding that the island had not seen a storm of that strength since 1928.
A hurricane task force for the U.S. Department of State is monitoring Maria’s path in the Caribbean and will coordinate evacuations for U.S. citizens and provide aid on the ground, a State Department official told ABC News.