Hurricane Maria, the sixth fastest intensifying hurricane on record, likely slammed parts of mountainous Puerto Rico with fiercer winds than previously reported, the National Hurricane Center said Monday in a final assessment of the lethal storm.
Maria struck the island’s southeast coast Sept. 20, lingering for nearly eight hours and leaving a death toll that remains a matter of dispute.
A day before the storm struck, its intensity fluctuated between Cat 4 and Cat 5 strength. But just before landfall, it weakened after the eyewall collapsed and was replaced, which happens frequently in fierce storms. The National Weather Service reported sustained winds reached over 155 mph as it roared ashore. But in Monday’s report, hurricane specialists Richard Pasch, Andrew Penny and Robbie Berg concluded that more intense winds blowing at higher elevations almost certainly reached parts of the mountainous island.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.