Hurricane Maria Levels Entire Towns, Leaves Puerto Rico Without Power
(CNN) Now that Hurricane Maria has moved past Puerto Rico, search and rescue teams are taking to the darkened streets of an island almost completely without power.
The devastating winds had died down to a whisper late Wednesday and the flooding rains were just a drizzle, but getting around was difficult due to widespread damage and no electricity except from generators.
"We are 100% without power," a spokesman for the Puerto Rico governor's office said Wednesday.
The storm caused widespread flooding and ripped trees out of the ground. More than 10,000 remained in shelters Wednesday night.
"This is total devastation," said Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's governor. "Puerto Rico, in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same. ... This is something of historic proportions."
A nightly curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. will take effect Wednesday evening and end Saturday morning, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in Puerto Rico, a US territory with 3.3 million people
Maria weakened to a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday afternoon, with winds of 110 mph, but is expected to gain strength with the core back over warm water.
Maria is next expected to pass by the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands, causing dangerous storm surge and rainfall.
The once-major hurricane has already killed seven people on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica, said Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
Browne said he had been communicating with the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who reported "widespread devastation" and whose own house was shredded by the storm.
Puerto Rican Olympic gymnast Tommy Ramos, who was riding out the storm in the northern city of Vega Baja, posted video of gusts blowing debris in front of him.
"The house is steady," Ramos told CNN. "What scares us is the flooding."