Delaware Public Media

Adrian Florido

In the lush green mountain town of Lares, Puerto Rico, even the dead and buried were scarred by Hurricane Maria.

The September 2017 storm dumped so much rain onto the town's only cemetery that it triggered a landslide. The flow of mud and water was so powerful that it damaged nearly 1,800 tombs — expelling caskets from their graves and sending some of them tumbling down a hillside.

Mabel Román Padró wishes she hadn't had to sue Puerto Rico's government.

But because she did, it translated an important report about Hurricane Maria into Spanish so she and most of the island's residents could read it.

"Access to information has always been hard here," Román said.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Officials in Puerto Rico have been saying for months that they are prepared should another hurricane strike their island, even one as big as Hurricane Maria, which made landfall with devastating fury last fall.

But on Tuesday afternoon, an attorney for Puerto Rico's government admitted in a San Juan courtroom that, in fact, the island's emergency management agency does not yet have a document outlining a hurricane-specific response plan.

Brock Long was frustrated. Yet again, the FEMA administrator said, people in the path of a powerful hurricane had ignored evacuation orders.

Hurricane Michael had leveled the small Florida city of Mexico Beach and destroyed large parts of nearby Panama City. The death count was rising as search and rescue workers pulled bodies from the rubble.

Alberto Carrión got out of bed while it was still dark Wednesday morning, and as he drove the winding road toward Puerto Rico's eastern coast, he looked up at the clouds through his drizzled windshield and worried.

"Please don't let it rain," he thought to himself. "Oh, no, please don't let it rain."

Carrion is a well known singer and composer in Puerto Rico, and on Wednesday morning, the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria's destructive tear across the island, he was driving toward Yabucoa, the town where the hurricane made landfall.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

Puerto Rico's governor updated the island's official death toll for victims of Hurricane Maria on Tuesday, hours after independent researchers from George Washington University released a study estimating the hurricane caused 2,975 deaths in the six months following the storm.

As Hurricane Lane approached Hawaii's big island, it dumped record amounts of rain on the city of Hilo, on the island's eastern coast, causing flooding, landslides, and damage to homes.

But as all that water began draining out to sea, it also created the perfect conditions for Shawn Pila to grab his surfboard and jump into the concrete drainage canal near his home.

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