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Although it has been six months since Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still struggling to return to normal with an estimated $90 billion in damages.
Crews have restored power to 93 percent of customers and water to 99 percent of customers, but more than 100,000 Puerto Ricans still remain in the dark with frequent power outages.
I wish 6 months after Hurricane Maria hit PR, I could be dancing w/ joy abt a job well done on the island, instead we will be rallying in DC in front of FEMA bldg. 4 their failure 2 act @Pwr4PuertoRico @HispanicFed 🇵🇷— Luis A. Miranda, Jr. (@Vegalteno) March 20, 2018
Power company officials are considering installing U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-funded battery-powered solar panels to provide more immediate relief for rural areas that remain in the dark, Electric Power Authority interim director Justo Gonzalez said.
According to a recent study by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York, in the six months since the hurricane, more than 135,000 people have fled to the U.S. mainland.
The estimate found more than 40 percent of them settled in Florida, with others fleeing to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania.
The Associated Press found that of the $23 billion pledged for Puerto Rico, only $1.27 billion for a nutritional assistance program has been disbursed, along with more than $430 million to repair public infrastructure. FEMA also has spent more than $6 billion from its standing emergency fund.
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Signs that progress is being made slowly but surely continue to emerge. Last week, a bridge connecting 60 families to the town of Utuado in the central part of the island and home to 33,000 people, was rebuilt after washing away during Maria's rampage.
"Utuado was at one point considered ground zero after the most devastating, slowest and most impactful natural catastrophe in the modern history of Puerto Rico," Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello said, according to ABC News.
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The northwestern United States will experience a flip to cool, rainy weather as Pacific storms return next week.
A natural disaster's threats don't end once the severe weather dissipates.
The lull in the western Pacific Ocean may come to an end next week with a new tropical threat expected to brew near Guam.
Mexico Beach, Florida, was almost completely flattened by Hurricane Michael. However, one home stood high on stilts above the wreckage, appearing largely untouched from the storm.
Eastern Spain is facing the highest risk for flooding from a pair of storms bringing unsettled weather to the Iberian Peninsula and neighboring Africa.
A renewed wave of cold air, locally damaging winds and rain and snow showers will sweep through the midwestern and northeastern United States this weekend.