SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (WSVN) – Puerto Ricans, many who are still recovering from Hurricane Maria, are preparing for Tropical Storm Dorian.
It has been two years since Maria struck the island, and those affected are not taking any chances this hurricane season.
“Very tough, very tough. We don’t have water, ice, electricity,” said Darwin Diaz, a resident preparing for the storm. “I feel like… bad dreams about this because last time we had a very rough time with Maria, so we have to be prepared.”
Gas stations were busy on Monday night as locals stocked up on gas for their vehicles and their generators.
Lengthy lines could be seen inside of Costco as shoppers picked up food and hurricane supplies.
“Right now, the big demand is batteries and water,” said Costco manager Janet Marie.
“The whole island has been traumatized,” said one shopper.
“We started hearing about the storm on Saturday and people have just been flocking in here like the end of the world,” said Costco manager Anthony Lopez. “People are really hesitant at the fact that the power is going to be able to hold up after the storm.”
Store employees said two trailers full of water were nearly emptied on Monday afternoon while another was on its way to the store.
The day before, four trailers of water were cleared out by midday.
“We’re worried even with the rain on a normal day,” said Kamil Matos, a resident preparing for the storm.
Sebastian Calderon is hoping he and his family won’t have to rely on lake water like they did when Hurricane Maria hit.
“Sometimes we boil it up, but there’s nothing at that time,” said Calderon. “There’s nothing.”
A state of emergency has been declared by Puerto Rico’s new Governor, Wanda Vázquez Garced.
“‘I just don’t want them to have to go through it again,’ it just seems like that’s what I keep thinking when I drive through,” said tourist Kate Cruz. “It’s a beautiful place but after a storm like that and devastation and how long it took them to revive themselves … it just scares me.”
Approximately 300 FEMA workers have responded to the island while others continue to arrive to provide any necessary assistance.
“This is not a good place to be in the next two or three days,” said FEMA representative Nick Russo. “The good news is this will be a very quick storm. This will come through in six or seven hours. It will be over, and we could assess the damage.”
Russo said in addition to the workers they have on standby to help, officials believe they are better prepared for the storm than they were for Maria.
The water system is believed to still be fragile, but several improvements have been made.
Thousands of residents who mostly reside on the countryside of the island remain without roofs on their homes leading to the opening of 300 shelters.
The shelters are expected to open by Tuesday afternoon.
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