Evacuations Begin as Puerto Rico Dam Failure Is 'Imminent'
Residents living near the Guajataca River in northwest Puerto Rico are being advised to evacuate immediately because of an "imminent dam break."
Photo of dam that is close to bursting in Puerto Rico from Giovanni Brignoni #hurricanemaria pic.twitter.com/R7yUS2A5lI— David Clinch (@DavidClinchNews) September 22, 2017
The National Weather Service in San Juan said Friday afternoon in a tweet shared to their account that all areas surrounding the Guajataca River should evacuate as lives are in danger.
215PM FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY for A Dam Failure in Isabela Municipality y Quebradillas Municipality in Puerto Rico... #prwx pic.twitter.com/L3utOjxspR— NWS San Juan (@NWSSanJuan) September 22, 2017
All Areas surrounding the Guajataca River should evacuate NOW. Their lives are in DANGER! Please SHARE! #prwx— NWS San Juan (@NWSSanJuan) September 22, 2017
Flash Flood Emergency for imminent dam break #LagoGuajataca continues. https://t.co/bSqMH5L7cE. If you live along #RioGuajataca? evacuate.— NWS San Juan (@NWSSanJuan) September 22, 2017
There are roughly 70,000 people in the areas of Guajataca Dam that have been told to evacuate.
BBC reports that the NWS issued a flash-flood announcement for the towns of Isabela and Quebradillas, which are about 6 miles apart. Operators at the Guajataca Dam said the structure situated at the northern end of Lake Guajataca in northwest Puerto Rico began to show signs of failing at 14:10 local time.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the dam was constructed by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority with an objective to create a lake that provides drinking water to residents of the area.
Many parts of the island are flooded because of Hurricane Maria, which pummeled through the island earlier this week. More than 3 million people don't have electricity.
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