Hurricane Dorian appeared to spare Puerto Rico on Wednesday, weaving an erratic path that sideswiped the archipelago and pounded the U.S. Virgin Islands with rain, but didn’t ravage the U.S. territories that are still recovering from Hurricane Maria’s destruction from 2017.
The Category 1 storm, which was headed out into the Atlantic Ocean late Wednesday, was on its way to becoming the first major hurricane to threaten the East Coast of the United States this season, with forecasters predicting a direct hit on Florida, perhaps on Labor Day, when the storm is expected to have reached Category 3 status.
Puerto Rico dodged a worst-case-scenario direct hit after growing from a tropical storm earlier in the day, but some residents lost power amid winds that topped 75 mph, and some areas flooded as intense rainfall pelted thousands of homes that still don’t have adequate roofing to keep families and properties dry.
“This is not Maria,” said Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced at an afternoon news conference in San Juan as she updated residents on the shifting track of a storm that has defied prediction.
The threat of a major storm this week served as a catalyst for a faster, more efficient rollout of emergency preparedness plans and resources by a local government wary of repeating the mistakes of the past — and hoping to win back the public trust lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria….