21:12 GMT +323 October 2019
Listen Live
    Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria

    Towns Evacuating as Puerto Rican Dam Fails

    © AP Photo/ Carlos Giusti
    Latin America
    Get short URL
    218
    Subscribe

    A failing dam is causing an "extremely dangerous" situation in the US territory of Puerto Rico, the US National Weather Service said Friday.

    The Guajataca Dam in the northwestern Puerto Rico failed at 2:10 p.m. local time, spurring the National Weather Service to announce a flash flood emergency. The dam failure comes in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which has caused flooding and devastation across the island.

    The nearby cities of Isabela and Quebradillas, with a combined population of more than 70,000 people, received evacuation orders as the dam began to fail. "This is an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION," NWS San Juan said in a statement Friday afternoon.

    ​"Buses are currently evacuating people from the area as quickly as they can," the statement continued. 

    ​Local residents have been warned to find "higher ground now," the weather service said on its website. Between Tuesday and Wednesday alone, water levels in Lago de Guajataca (Guajataca Lake) rose three feet, federal data show. The dam, constructed in the 1920s, had a capacity of about 11 billion gallons of water and was used primarily for irrigation and consumption.  

    ​"Do not attempt travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order," the alert states. 

    As of Thursday the entire island has been without electric power. At least 13 have died on the island as a result of the storm, and the death toll is expected to rise. Maria has claimed 30 lives as it cut through the Caribbean, and the Category 3 storm remains very dangerous. 

    Related:

    Eye of Hurricane Maria Over Eastern Puerto Rico - US National Hurricane Center
    Hazardous Hurricane Maria Leaves Puerto Rico De-Energized and Devastated
    The 'Nelson Mandela of Puerto Rico' Emerges After 36 Years in a US Jail
    Power Plant Fire Knocks Out Electricity to Most of Puerto Rico (VIDEOS)
    Puerto Rico Declares Bankruptcy in Federal Court
    Tags:
    Hurricane Maria, dam, Puerto Rico
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik