Hurricane Maria’s wrath moved past the Dominican Republic early Thursday as a Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds—and forecasters say a direct hit on the U.S. mainland cannot be ruled out. Officials on Puerto Rico emerged late Wednesday to take stock of the storm’s devastation, as hurricane trackers warned of “catastrophic flash flooding” on parts of the island. “We will find our island destroyed,” Abner Gómez, Puerto Rico’s emergency management director, told the Miami Herald. “It’s a system that has destroyed everything it has had in its path.” At least nine people have been reported dead, including seven on Guadeloupe. The National Hurricane Center said it is too soon to say if the U.S. East Coast could take a direct hit.
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