Puerto Rican community in SE Wisconsin watches Hurricane Irma slam the island
On Wednesday Hurricane Irma started pounding Puerto Rico with strong winds and heavy rains. For the large Puerto Rican community in Southeastern Wisconsin it has been difficult staying in touch with relatives still on the island.
In the areas hit bad by the storm people are expecting to be without electricity or clean water for a long time. Already Puerto Rico's public power utility is telling customers to expect some outages to last up to six months.
Power lines are down all over in Puerto Rico. Victor Huyke, publisher of El Conquistador Latino Newspaper, shared one video that's been popular online.
"The arc from the electricity is starting to explode which arcs all the way up to the transformer, and now the whole neighborhood is without electricity," Huyke said.
"They lose the ability to talk to family, friends. Live streams are gone at the island at this point," Huyke said.
The National Weather Service expects winds up to 80 miles per hour at the capital - San Juan - as the storm approaches with sustained 185 mile per hour winds. Huyke says many peoples' relatives are staying and not all by choice.
"That's part of the problem. Since it's an island, it's not really much where you can go," Huyke said.
"We still have a lot of families, even myself - I have a lot of family in Puerto Rico. So, you know, we're trying to keep track of what's going on," Huyke said.
"And now that Puerto Rico and Florida are both out of commission, the people of Puerto Rico are going to be in hardship and will especially need food," Huyke said.
El Conquistador is planning a fundraiser for Puerto Rico this Saturday. Huyke says that they are in contact with the Red Cross, but they are asking people to stay informed on the event by following them on their Facebook page. Click here to see that information