The Latest: Officials fear dam collapse in Puerto Rico

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

12:45 p.m.

Puerto Rico's government says engineers will inspect the Guajataca Dam on Sunday to determine the extent of damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria last week.

The dam was cracked but had not burst by late Saturday. But Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario Rosario said in a statement that the dam's "fissure was big and it will collapse at any minute."

Fears that the dam would fail prompted the government to evacuate nearby residents.

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 from Maria fell on the surrounding mountains.


11:45 a.m.

A French warship has brought reconstruction equipment to Caribbean islands slammed by hurricanes Irma and Maria as part of broader efforts to help French territories cope with extreme weather.

The Defense Ministry said Sunday the helicopter carrier Tonnerre has arrived with more than 1,000 tons of material and 300 additional military personnel for the cleanup on St. Martin and nearby islands. That brings the total French military presence to 2,000 people.

It also said Defense Minister Florence Parly is ordering a new patrol ship to be permanently stationed in the Caribbean to help with future storms and to fight trafficking.

A joint French, British and Dutch aid coordination effort is also underway for Caribbean territories with lingering ties to Europe, after criticism that governments didn't sufficiently prepare the islands for this season's hurricanes.


11:15 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Maria has weakened slightly as it moves northward, but it's still likely to bring increasing swells and high surf to the Southeastern U.S. coast.

Maria, which walloped Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane last week, is now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph)

The Hurricane Center says it was centered about 475 miles (765 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina before noon Sunday.

It said people along the Carolina and Mid-Atlantic coasts should monitor the storm.

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