Puerto Rico is reeling from the 6.0- magnitude earthquake that shook the island Monday night as Tropical Storm Karen approaches. The quake hit about 49 miles north-northwest of Isabela, Puerto Rico, around midnight ET according to the United States Geological Survey. It struck 49 miles off the island’s northwest coast at a shallow depth of six miles.
Reportedly 70 aftershocks occurred including three that were 3.5-magnitude or greater with the largest being 4.7, CBS reports.
— Eddie Ho (@eddiehosa) September 24, 2019
Puerto Rico governor Wanda Vázquez urged residents to remain calm in the face of an approaching storm in the wake of the quake. “We hope everyone is well and we have no harm in the face of the strong tremor,” she tweeted in Spanish, adding that there was no risk of a tsunami from the quake.
Esperamos estén todos bien y no tengamos ningún daño ante el fuerte temblor. Importante mantener la calma durante estos eventos naturales para garantizar la seguridad. No existe riesgo de tsunami para Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes. https://t.co/TZfEg9nFL7
— Lcda. Wanda Vázquez Garced (@wandavazquezg) September 24, 2019
But the storm is reportedly going to hit this afternoon with maximum sustained winds at 40 mph with higher gusts.
“We must remember that we are in the most active period of the hurricane season — and we should not lower our guard,” said Department of Public Security chief Carlos Acevedo Caballero. Karen was about 65 miles away from San Juan, Puerto Rico moving at 7 mph and blowing maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. Karen’s winds can be felt up to 80 miles away from the center.
Ya @dacoatufavor emitió la Orden de Congelación de Precios que incluye gas licuado, gasolina, diésel y los productos de primera necesidad. Recalcamos a la ciudadanía prepararse com cautela y evaluar si necesitan acudir a un refugio. #Karen @NMEADpr pic.twitter.com/r2zWILl4rn
— Lcda. Wanda Vázquez Garced (@wandavazquezg) September 23, 2019
Puerto Rico’s Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Management opened shelters in anticipation of flooding, USA Today reports.
“We must remember that we are in the most active period of the hurricane season — and we should not lower our guard,” Department of Public Security chief Carlos Acevedo Caballero said. He also recommends stashing water and food for at least ten days per family member including pets and it’s essential to locate the nearest shelter. Passports, medical plan cards and other forms of identification are important as well as having an emergency backpack prepared.
Though there was no damage after the earthquake, it’s the strongest to hit the island in recent years and with the threat of the impending storms while the island still recovers from the damage of Hurricane Maria, authorities are reminding residents to prepare. “Prepare and keep calm,” said Housing Secretary Gil Enseñat, USA Today reports.
Hurricane Maria left 3,000 dead and caused $90 billion in damages almost exactly two years ago and many Puerto Ricans live in housing that has not fully been repaired, so preparation is essential for their survival with Tropical Storm Karen approaching.
“This could be enough to bring down trees and the infrastructure for power is still weak after Maria, so I anticipate power outages,” CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.