Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, killed eight people and plunged Puerto Rico into darkness on Thursday as it swept through Caribbean islands while aiming for Florida.
The dead were reported on four islands. Weather forecasters have described Irma as a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm, the highest U.S. classification for hurricanes.
At least half of Puerto Rico’s homes and businesses were without power early on Thursday, according to Twitter posts and a message posted by an island utility executive.
The dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda was especially hard hit. The northernmost island, Barbuda, home to roughly 1,800 people, was “totally demolished,” with 90 percent of all dwellings there leveled, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said, according to island television broadcasts.