- Associated Press - Saturday, September 23, 2017

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The Latest on Maria (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says people along the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic coasts should watch the progress of Maria.

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The storm is about 285 miles (460 kilometers) east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas.

The hurricane center said Saturday that tropical storm or hurricane watches may be needed for a portion of the Carolinas or Mid-Atlantic coast on Sunday.

Maria is a Category 3 storm and is expected to stay off the East Coast, but the system is generating swells along the southeastern coast.


4:10 p.m.

The death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is now at least 10.

That number includes two police officers who drowned in floodwaters in the western town of Aguada. The number of deaths is expected to climb as officials from remote towns continue to check in with officials in San Juan.

Authorities in the town of Vega Alta on the north coast said Saturday they had been unable to reach an entire neighborhood called Fatima, and were particularly worried about residents of a nursing home.

Officials say the humanitarian crisis is growing as towns are left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service.


12:25 p.m.

Dozens of anxious mayors are arriving to meet with Puerto Rico’s governor to present a long list of things they urgently need after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

They mayors they are worried about hospitals, a home for the elderly and bridges that have collapsed.

Jose Sanchez Gonzalez, the mayor of the north coastal town of Manati, says he needs basic supplies such as water, ice and gas immediately.

He says hysteria is starting to spread and the hospital is at capacity and people are going to start dying.


11 a.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Maria is causing dangerous surf and rip currents along the East Coast of the U.S. after the storm devastated Puerto Rico.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Saturday that the storm’s winds had decreased to 115 mph (185 kph).

Maria is a Category 3 storm and is expected to stay well off the East Coast, but the system is generating swells along the southeastern coast. The waves will increase along the Mid-Atlantic coast Saturday night and Sunday.

In Puerto Rico, officials are rushing to evacuate tens of thousands of people living downstream from a failing dam.


6 a.m.

Puerto Rican officials could not communicate with more than half the towns in the U.S. territory as they rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of people downstream of a failing dam.

Authorities launched an evacuation of the 70,000 people living downstream from the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico, sending buses to move people away Friday and posting frantic warnings on Twitter that went unseen by many in the blacked-out coastal area.

The 345-yard (316-meter) dam was built around 1928. It holds back a man-made lake covering about 2 square miles (5 square kilometers). More than 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) of rain fell on the surrounding mountains after the Category 4 Maria left the island Wednesday afternoon.

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