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Hurricane Maria Weakens as It Moves North

  • VOA News

People congregate at a wifi hotspot in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria with many cellphone towers down in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 24, 2017.

Hurricane Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico last week, is growing weaker as it moves north.

But the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sunday the storm could still cause dangerous surf and rip currents at beaches on the U.S. east coast.

Maria, which hit the island of Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, weakened to a category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 165 kph.

Puerto Rico remains without power, except for generators, and phone service is spotty, as officials struggle to provide food and water to those affected by the worst storm to hit the island of 3.4 million in nearly a century.

Tens of thousands of people evacuated from a river valley below a failing dam Saturday in northeast Puerto Rico, urged to do so by the National Weather Service. "Stay away or be swept away," the weather service added.

In addition to Puerto Rico, the storm lashed other Caribbean islands. Fourteen people were reported dead on Dominica, which has a population of about 71,000. Three deaths were reported in Haiti, two deaths in the French territory of Guadeloupe and one in the Dominican Republic.

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