The Latest: Puerto Rico blackout: Many more days in the dark

The Latest on tropical weather (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

It’s already been five days with no lights or air conditioning, and Puerto Rico is looking at many, many more. The power is still out on nearly all the island after Hurricane Maria smashed poles, snarled power lines and flooded electricity-generating plants, knocking out a grid that was already considered antiquated compared to the U.S. mainland.

Power had been restored to a handful of hospitals and surrounding areas by Monday afternoon but Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario said it will take months to fully restore power to the island.

Getting the power back isn’t just a matter of comfort. A long delay will mean even more pain for a Puerto Rican economy that’s already reeling from a decade-long recession.

With no power, even more people will leave the island to find better opportunities on the mainland and further drain its workforce. The downed power system is also damaging the tourism industry, which contributed 8 percent to Puerto Rico’s economy last year.


5:15 p.m.

Officials say an apparent piece of World War II ordnance has washed up on North Carolina’s Outer Banks amid heavy swells from Hurricane Maria far offshore.

The U.S. National Park Service said the unexploded device was found Monday on a beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Avon. An explosive ordnance disposal unit from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point was headed to the site to remove the device. The park service said it’s the third time unexploded ordnance has washed ashore this year.

WITN in Greenville reports another item was found Monday morning on Whale Head Beach elsewhere on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Currituck County Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Banks said the Cherry Point unit determined it was a training mine, and because it wasn’t live, there was no danger to the public.


5 p.m.

Forecaster say a tropical storm warning has been issued from the Outer Banks of North Carolina at Duck extending northward to the state’s border with Virginia because of Hurricane Maria.

Forecasters say the tropical storm warning also still extends south from Duck along North Carolina’s barrier islands to Cape Lookout as the large Category 1 hurricane nears.

At 5 p.m. EDT Monday, Maria’s core was centered about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The storm is moving to the north at 7 mph (11 kph) and has top sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the center of Maria will pass east of the coast of North Carolina in coming days. Maria is expected to gradually weaken and become a tropical storm on Tuesday night or Wednesday.


3:50 p.m.

The government of Puerto Rico says the death toll from Hurricane Maria on the island is now 16, and that brings the overall toll across the Caribbean to 49 lives lost.

Authorities say the deaths have occurred across Puerto Rico from the effects of the Category 4 storm that devastated the island.

The figure of 16 deaths was reported by Gov. Ricardo Rossello on Monday amid local media reports of additional deaths. Rossello told reporters Monday that his government has now been in touch with mayors throughout the island and is working to bring water and food to isolated communities that were cut off by the storm.


2:15 p.m.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello has thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for the federal emergency assistance being provided after Hurricane Maria.

Rossello praised the federal effort in a news conference with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long and Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert.

Puerto Rico’s governor says FEMA has done a “phenomenal job” with assistance that includes water and diesel fuel for generators.

The FEMA chief Long said that about 10,000 U.S. federal employees are in the U.S. territory helping with recovery, days after the Category 4 storm walloped the island.


2 p.m.

Hurricane Maria is continuing its northward crawl over the Atlantic, well offshore of the U.S. East Coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria remains a large Category 1 hurricane at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, its core is located about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds continue at 80 mph (130 kph) and the storm is moving to the north at 7 mph (11 kph), kicking up rough surf and large ocean swells along parts of the East Coast.

Hundreds of miles (kilometers) out in the Atlantic, Hurricane Lee poses no threat to land.


2 p.m.

Pilar has weakened to a tropical depression off the Pacific coast of Mexico, but the former tropical storm is being blamed for two deaths near the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, which it brushed past late last week.

Jalisco state civil defense authorities reported Monday that the bodies of a man and a woman who had been swept away by flood currents near Puerto Vallarta had been found floating in the ocean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Pilar is still expected to dump heavy rain over western areas of Mexico including the states of Nayarit, Sinaloa and Durango.

The former tropical storm was located Monday about 45 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico and moving north-northwest at 7 mph (11 kph). I


1:20 p.m.

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Rob Manning, said the Defense Department is working around the clock to deliver humanitarian assistance to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The USS Kearsarge has conducted medical evacuations and airlifted relief supplies to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

On Sunday, the Kearsarge inserted Marine and Navy teams into Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, to clear main roads and the airfield to enable additional air support to the overall relief effort.

The military also is helping to restore power on Puerto Rico by providing generators and the fuel to run them.

Eight Army UH-60 helicopters from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, are also being flown to San Juan international airport to increase the capacity for distributing relief supplies on the island.


12:45 p.m.

Vacationers are packing up and business owners are bracing for another financial hit this season as Hurricane Maria churns offshore of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Mandatory evacuations for tourists began Monday for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Forecasters predict some flooding starting Tuesday as Maria heads north over the Atlantic well off the Eastern seaboard.

A hotel owner on Ocracoke said the storm hurts business during a season that’s already seen heavy financial losses. A construction accident cut power and spurred evacuations for several days in July and August.

Blackbeard’s Lodge owner Chip Stevens said Maria effectively makes 2017 a two-storm season, which is the “worst-case scenario.”

Tourists were also disappointed. Jay Wrenn, his wife and their dog were forced to leave Rodanthe on Hatteras on Monday. They had arrived Sunday with a week’s worth of groceries.


12: 15 p.m.

A New Jersey family says an elderly woman with a lung ailment who became stranded in Puerto Rico has now made it to the airport. Relatives now say 80-year-old Madeline “Sally” Hennessey is awaiting a flight out to the U.S. mainland.

“From our end, it’s hoping and praying,” said Hennessey’s daughter, Beth O’Brien, of Wall Township, New Jersey.

The daughter said later Monday that her 80-year-old mother had made it to the airport and was awaiting a flight out in coming hours.

The elderly woman has an oxygen tank, which needs to remain plugged in. But the family said she had a hard time breathing because of a lack of air conditioning in the building where she was staying, though it was powered by emergency generators.


11:35 a.m.

The Department of Homeland Security says it’s not planning to waive federal restrictions on foreign ships’ transportation of cargo to Puerto Rico and other areas affected by Hurricane Maria, as it did following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

A Homeland Security spokesman says that, based on consultation with the Energy Department and other federal agencies, officials believe there is sufficient capacity of U.S.-flagged vessels to move goods to Puerto Rico. Spokesman David Lapan said most of the humanitarian shipments to Puerto Rico will be through barges, which make up a significant portion of the US-flagged cargo fleet.

Lapan said officials waived the Jones Act after hurricanes Harvey and Irma in order to move oil to the East Coast. The waiver also helped make up for the loss of high-capacity pipelines.


11 a.m.

Hurricane Maria is slowly moving northward well offshore in the Atlantic, kicking up large ocean swells along much of the U.S. East Coast.

The large Category 1 hurricane was centered at 11 a.m. EDT Monday about 315 miles (505 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Its top sustained winds were clocked at 80 mph (130 kph) and the storm is moving to the north at 7 mph (11 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the core of Maria is expected to move well east of the Southeast U.S. coast over the next day or so. Gradual weakening is in the forecast with Maria expected to become a tropical storm on Tuesday night.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect in North Carolina from Cape Lookout to Duck along the Outer Banks and for Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.


10:35 a.m.

The chief of police in Dominica says the confirmed death toll has risen to 27 from Hurricane Maria’s strike on the Caribbean island.

Chief Daniel Carbon told reporters Monday that the toll had risen from 15. He said another 27 were missing.

Maria slammed into the small island on Sept. 18 as a Category 5 hurricane, causing devastating damage, before continuing on to hit Puerto Rico.


10:30 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan promises that Washington will make sure that the people of hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico will “have what they need.”

The Wisconsin Republican’s statement came as authorities struggle to provide adequate relief to the more than 3 million U.S. citizens on the island territory, which is without power and has seen terrible devastation.

Ryan said Congress is working with the administration to make sure Puerto Rico gets all of the help that’s required. Lawmakers approved $15 billion in hurricane relief in the wake of Harvey but tens of billions of dollars more is sure to be needed in the weeks and months ahead.

The tragedy has received relatively little media coverage compared to Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and President Donald Trump hasn’t brought much attention to it.


10:15 a.m.

Officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation of visitors from a second island along North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Hurricane Maria approaches.

Dare County ordered the evacuation of Hatteras Island beginning at noon Monday. Hyde County had earlier ordered an evacuation of visitors from Ocracoke Island beginning at 5 a.m. Monday.

Authorities warn that high winds and significant ocean and sound over wash and flooding are likely as Maria passes well offshore.

The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning from Cape Lookout to Duck on the Outer Banks. A tropical storm watch was in effect from Surf City to Cape Lookout and from Duck to the North Carolina-Virginia state line.

A storm surge of 2 feet (0.6 meters) to 4 feet (1 meter) is possible on Ocracoke with up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain possible through Wednesday.


9:20 a.m.

More than 200 visitors have left an island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks after an evacuation was ordered as Hurricane Maria moves northward.

Hyde County emergency services director Jason Gibbs said Monday morning that 225 people had evacuated Ocracoke Island since the 5 a.m. order went into effect. Gibbs said officials think there are about 700 visitors on the island, which has a year-round population of about 1,000 residents.

Gibbs said the county is relying on those who rent homes on the island and the hotels to get word to visitors they need to leave.

A tropical storm warning is in effect and the National Hurricane Center says a storm surge of up to 4 feet (1 meter) is possible. Gibbs said the effects of the storm surge could begin late Tuesday afternoon.


8:10 a.m.

An evacuation is underway on an island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Hurricane Maria moves north.

The Hyde County Sheriff’s office said the evacuation began at 5 a.m. Monday on Ocracoke Island. It’s not immediately clear how many residents and visitors are heeding the order to leave.

The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning from Cape Lookout to Duck on the Outer Banks. A tropical storm watch was in effect from Surf City to Cape Lookout and from Duck to the North Carolina-Virginia state line.

Hyde County commissioners ordered the evacuation on the island still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Jose.

A storm surge of 2 feet (0.6 meters) to 4 feet (1 meter) is possible. Up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain could fall through Wednesday.