Puerto Rico's electrical grid was so decimated by last year's Hurricane Maria that even a relatively minor storm in the upcoming hurricane season could have devastating consequences, officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Despite a $3.8 billion effort to restore the grid, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello said it remains "highly fragile and vulnerable" and could be damaged even more severely than before.
This year's hurricane season starts in June, and is sure to bring turbulent weather to the island of 3.3 million citizens, but even a minor storm could become serious as a result of the poor restoration efforts. "Even if it's a [Category 1]" storm, the grid is "going to lose power. I don't know for how long," Puerto Rico's public safety commissioner told AP.
Puerto Rico is still reeling from Hurricane Maria, which new research estimates led to more than 4,500 deaths. Federal officials say the recovery effort was the biggest in history, but local lawmakers dispute the claim that FEMA and other agencies did efficient work to get the island back up and running. Officials are bracing for the upcoming hurricane season, warning Puerto Ricans to gather supplies and prepare to survive for up to 10 days without help. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza