'I am scared': Locals with families in Puerto Rico react after Maria hits island as Cat 4 storm

Many local families are praying for their loved ones in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria lashed the island.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, almost 1,200 miles away in Jacksonville, families are worried about their loved ones living on the island.

Diego Martinez’s mind is in Jacksonville, but his heart is on the island.

He said his aunt lives on the island, but did not evacuate. He last spoke to her yesterday.

“I don’t really know what is happening with my family down there," he said.

All he can do is wait, work and pray.

“Pray for God Mercy... Have mercy on all of them down there,” Martinez said. “I am scared. I can’t work properly. I’ve already told my managers. Excuse me, today I am really nervous.

Nancy Quinones, another Jacksonville resident, has siblings and her 90-year-old mother in Puerto Rico. Like Martinez's mom, they did not evacuate.

“We are desperate because many of us something like 4 p.m. was the last time I talked to my mom,” Quinones said.  “They stay at a house and that’s why I am most concerned and she is in a low lying area," she said before crying.

As of 5 p.m., Hurricane Maria was leaving Puerto Rico as a Category 2 storm. The National Hurricane Center reported that the area is experiencing catastrophic flash flooding.

Quinones serves as CEO Of Puerto Rican & Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Duval and Clay Counties. She said her organization will send much needed supplies after the storm has passed. If the public wants to help, a link will be available after the storm at JAXPRHChamber.org.

“We know they suffered first from Irma, and now Maria so we are trying to gather as much help as needed" she said.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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