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Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico; death toll rises to 9

Maria ties for eighth strongest storm in Atlantic history

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 19:  The La Perla neighborhood in Old San Juan as residents prepare for a direct hit from Hurricane Maria on September 19, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is saying Maria could be the "most catastrophic hurricane to hit" the U.S. territory in a century. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 19: The La Perla neighborhood in Old San Juan as residents prepare for a direct hit from Hurricane Maria on September 19, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is saying Maria could be the "most catastrophic hurricane to hit" the U.S. territory in a century. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

PUERTO RICO – Here's the latest on Hurricane Maria (all times local):

7:55 a.m.

An adviser to Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says there have been seven confirmed deaths in the Caribbean country from Hurricane Maria.

Hartley Henry didn't give details about how the deaths occurred. They raise the overall death toll to nine from the storm including one on the French island of Guadeloupe.

Henry says the country is "in a daze" with no electricity or power and little to no communications.

He said in a statement Wednesday that there has been a "tremendous loss of housing and public buildings" in the mountainous island but the full extent of the damage isn't known. The storm struck the country Monday and Tuesday and is now over Puerto Rico.

7:20 a.m.

Zinc roofs were already flying and windows were breaking as Maria approached Puerto Rico before dawn, with nearly 900,000 people without power and one tree falling on an ambulance.

Those who sought shelter at a coliseum in San Juan were moved to the building's second and third floors, reported radio station WKAQ 580 AM. The storm was moving across Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning at 10 mph (17 kph), with a gust of 113 mph (182 kph) reported in the capital of San Juan, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Puerto Rico had long been spared from a direct hit by hurricanes that tend to veer north or south of the island. The last Category 4 hurricane landfall in Puerto Rico occurred in 1932, and the strongest storm to ever hit the island was San Felipe in 1928 with winds of 160 mph  (257 kph).

7 a.m.

Hurricane Maria has made landfall in Puerto Rico.

The National Hurricane Center says the Category 4 Hurricane made landfall early Wednesday near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. It had a sustained wind of 155 mph (250 kph).

It was located about 30 miles (50 kph) south-southeast of San Juan.

5:15 a.m.

Hurricane Maria has weakened to a Category 4 storm as it closes in on Puerto Rico but remains a dangerous hurricane that threatens to decimate the power company's crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities.

Maria's maximum sustained winds Wednesday morning are near 155 mph (250 kph) and the U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm should keep that intensity until it makes landfall.

As of 5 a.m. EDT, Maria is centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is moving northwest near 10 mph (17 kph).