5 years after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's power grid is fragile
Five years after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's power grid is fragile, with residents losing electricity constantly and worried as before Maria.
Five years ago, Iraida Quiñones survived Hurricane Maria, one of the worst storms to ever hit Puerto Rico and the deadliest natural disaster on U.S. territory in 100 years.
On Friday she was bracing for Tropical Storm Fiona, which was set to bring heavy rains and winds. Late Sunday morning, Fiona strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane. As of Sunday afternoon, even though the hurricane was far weaker than Maria, the island had lost all power — like five years before.
“That's what scared us, that it's the same date as Maria," Quiñones, 87, who lives in San Juan, said in her native Spanish. "We associate those kinds of bad times with Maria."
For Quiñones and other Puerto Ricans, the continuing fragility of Puerto Rico's power grid five years later is a constant source of concern in a region that expects the possibility of hurricanes every fall.
Puerto Rico braces for flooding, power outages from Storm FionaSept. 17, 202203:17“Our grid may be functional, but it’s fragile,” said Sergio Marxuach, policy director at the Center for a New Economy, a Puerto Rico-based nonpartisan think tank, adding that the slightest storm winds can easily result in nearly 500,000 homes losing power.