Puerto Rican Business Owner Prepares For Maria, While Still Reeling From Irma | Connecticut Public Radio

Puerto Rican Business Owner Prepares For Maria, While Still Reeling From Irma

Sep 19, 2017

Two weeks after Irma pounded the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

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Maria Sanchez-Cruz lost $4,000 in spoiled meat when Irma cut the electricity that powered her freezer. And it could have been worse.

“I didn’t spend too much because Irma [was] coming,” Sanchez-Cruz said.

Sanchez-Cruz goes grocery shopping every weekend and buys based on the weather, because if it rains even a little bit, the power goes out.

She owns a restaurant in San Lorenzo, about 15 minutes southeast of Caguas in eastern Puerto Rico. When Irma hit, the restaurant didn’t have power for three days.

“We’ve got power now, but until what time?” Sanchez-Cruz said. “I don’t know yet.”

Satellite image of Hurricane Maria's impact on the Caribbean.
Credit National Hurricane Center

Sanchez-Cruz has close Connecticut ties. She lived in Hartford for 23 years, and still has family here, but she doesn’t consider leaving the island when there is a big storm. She can’t leave the business behind — even though she’s worried this storm will be worse than the last.

“There [were] a lot of trees down and everything,” Sanchez-Cruz said. “And I was watching Irma, but Maria’s going to be harder.”

The National Hurricane Center has reported winds of 160 miles per hour, with the storm moving 10 miles per hour northwest.

This story is part of “The Island Next Door,” WNPR’s reporting project about Puerto Rico and Connecticut after Hurricane Maria.