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Damaged Puerto Rico dam forces mass evacuations

Staff Writer |
A dam in Puerto Rico on Friday suffered structural damage, forcing evacuations in the wake of Hurricane Maria, officials said.

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“Close to 70,000 is the estimate of people that could be affected in the case of a collapse,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello said during a press conference at the Guajataca Dam, built in the 1920s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We don’t know the details. It’s time to get people out.”

The evacuations follow a flash flood warning by the National Weather Services for the municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas, which the agency called “an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation.”

Maria was passing Friday afternoon to the east of the southeastern Bahamas at a speed of 9 miles per hour (14 kmh), with sustained winds of 125 mph (201 kmh), according to the National Hurricane Center.

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