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Massive blackouts return to Puerto Rico as heat and downpours add to misery

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
November 18, 2017, 5:10:19 AM EST

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Puerto Rico Power

In this Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 photo, Ezequiel Rivera works with the Electric Energy Authority to restore distribution lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in the Cantera community of San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

Around the same time that Puerto Rico announced that power generation on the island had reached 50 percent of capacity, power outages occurred throughout the San Juan metro area setting the island back once again.

According to Puerto Rico's power company (PREPA), there was a technical failure in unit 7 at the San Juan Central plant. This caused power outages from Cambalache Plant in Arecibo to Manatí Transmission Center. Bayamón, Guaynabo, San Juan and Carolina are among the affected areas.

This power failure dropped generation from 50 to 22 percent on Wednesday morning. It climbed back to 43.7 percent by 8:00 p.m. that night.

However, San Juan unit 8 went out of service Thursday morning, bringing it down to 40.8 percent. PREPA expects it will increase to 80 percent by Nov. 30 in accordance with the goal of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, according to an AAE tweet.

While the power outage was not weather-related, the island is experiencing miserable conditions with heat and rain.

The island experienced record-breaking heat of 92 F on Wednesday, according to NWS San Juan, while much of the island does not have air conditioning.

Adding to the misery, rainfall along with debris piles has led to more flooding incidents.

Tropical downpours that have been spinning over the central Caribbean will continue to send bouts of rain over Puerto Rico through the weekend, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller.

"While it won’t be raining all day each day, when it does, the rain can fall locally heavily enough to result in flash flooding," Miller said.

It is hard to say how much rain has fallen each day since there is only one reporting site, San Juan, in Puerto Rico. According to the San Juan site, Coloso-Aguada had 1.17 inches on Wednesday and San Juan has had 1.02 inches since Nov. 9. However, with the main radar being down, it's more difficult to estimate precise rainfall totals, Miller said.

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The NWS has listed several key hazards as rainstorms and thunderstorms continue. There have been numerous flood warnings and watches throughout the island.

Furthermore, mosquitoes may result from the hot, wet weather.

The island remains in complete disarray nearly two months following the Hurricane Maria.

Maria Puerto Rico Debris

Debris built up in Puerto Rico following Maria.

AccuWeather Video Producer Lincoln Riddle, who recently visited Puerto Rico, describes the condition of the island.

"Many of the roads are lined with trees, mud and other debris. It looks like they came in and pushed it all to the side to re-open them as quickly as possible," Riddle said.

The lack of power presents a huge obstacle for citizens from the unbearable heat to basic necessities.

"From cooking to even entertaining, being without power makes everything more complicated. How will they cook their next meal? Where will they store their food? How will they beat the heat and stay cool?" Riddle said.

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