The Latest: At least 27 deaths in Caribbean from Maria

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

11:45 a.m.

Maria's death toll across the Caribbean has climbed to at least 27.

There were at least 15 deaths on Dominica and six on Puerto Rico. Other islands reporting deaths were Haiti, three; Guadeloupe, two; and Dominican Republic, one.

In Haiti, government authorities reported two people were killed during a lightning strike in the community of Cornillon and a 45-year-old man died while trying to cross a river Thursday morning. Authorities say northern areas of Haiti were pounded by heavy rain from Hurricane Maria.


11:20 a.m.

The president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, is touring areas hit hard by Maria.

Authorities say several rivers burst their banks in the island nation, destroying several bridges and inflicting major damage on several highways. Emergency crews are now clearing storm debris on a key highway to the eastern tip of the island and its beach resorts of Bavaro-Punta Cana. Meanwhile, some 300,000 homes are without power after Maria's winds toppled many utility poles.

Also Friday, Puerto Rico was digging out from the storm. Some generators in Puerto Rico have been breaking down or running out of gas, prompting at least two hotels to evacuate hundreds of people. Families also were awaiting news about when the island's airport would reopen, with many planning to fly their children to the U.S. to temporarily enroll them in schools there until life in Puerto Rico returns to normal.


11:10 a.m.

Puerto Rico residents say they are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

"This is an absolute crisis," said Alana Yendez, a 44-year-old maintenance worker as she sat on the steps of her devastated home and rocked her 2-month-old grandson, Armani James. "There's so much flooding. My roof completely collapsed."

She and 11 other relatives sought shelter in a next-door building that a family had abandoned. They had six barrels of water they estimated would last them one month.

Nearby, 64-year-old retiree Neida Febus left her home carrying bowls of rice and ground meat topped with avocado. She had cooked for her neighbors who shared some of their food earlier as they waited for officials to say when the power might return.

"It won't be until Christmas," she said. "This storm crushed us from one end of the island to the other."


11 a.m.

Hurricane Maria is now churning northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands with top sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the core of the major Category 3 hurricane is now about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Grand Turk Island. It's moving to the northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

A hurricane warning continues in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands as well as the Southeastern Bahamas. The storm is expected to turn toward the north and northwest later Friday and head northeast and east of the Bahamas through Sunday. Maria is also expected to begin to gradually weaken over the next 48 hours.


10:50 a.m.

Civil Defense officials a man has died in the north of the Dominican Republic when the ground gave way and his roof collapsed in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria's heavy rains.

Antonio Miranda, 32, died Thursday night in the rural community of San Victor, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of the capital, said Antonio Sanchez, a regional Civil Defense chief.

Civil Defense officials say the storm has triggered flooding in several areas in the north and east of that country and that some 16,000 people have been evacuated. Authorities say at least 15 houses have been destroyed and communications are cut to about 25 communities after rivers overflowed their banks from the heavy rains. Many are using buckets trying to remove mud and debris that has washed into homes in the flooding.


10:30 a.m.

Puerto Rican officials say at least six people have died in connection with Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety Secretary Héctor M. Pesquera said Friday that authorities were aware of "other potential fatalities" but have not been able to confirm them.

The six casualties occurred in three municipalities. In Utuado three people died in landslides. In Toa Baja, two people died as a result of the flooding. And in Bayamón, one person died after being struck by a panel.


7:15 a.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading to the Caribbean for the second time in a week to get a firsthand look at the damage left behind by a hurricane.

The Democrat announced Thursday that he'll travel to Puerto Rico with New York state emergency response officials to help recovery efforts on the island ravaged by Hurricane Maria.

Cuomo's office says Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello asked his New York counterpart for emergency goods and services to help the recovery.

Cuomo's trip comes a week after he traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands at the invitation of the territory's governor to see the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Cuomo vowed to send New York aid to the devastated islands.


6:05 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the eye of Hurricane Maria is near the Turks and Caicos islands while rains and dangerous high waves are starting to subside along the northern coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

As of 5 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east-northeast of Grand Turk Island and is moving northwest at 7 mph (11 kph).

The Category 3 hurricane has maximum sustained winds near 125 mph (205 kph) but gradual weakening is expected during the next two days.

The hurricane has ravaged Puerto Rico and people there face the prospect of going weeks and perhaps months without electricity.


4 a.m.

The eye of Hurricane Maria is nearing the Turks and Caicos early Friday as Puerto Rico tries to recover from the storm's devastation.

Two days after Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, flooding towns, crushing homes and killing at least two people, millions on the island face the dispiriting prospect of weeks and perhaps months without electricity. The storm knocked out the entire grid across the U.S. territory of 3.4 million, leaving many without power.

The loss of power has left residents hunting for gas canisters for cooking, collecting rainwater or steeling themselves mentally for the hardships to come in the tropical heat. Some have contemplated leaving the island.

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