Initial reports from St. Croix indicate that Hurricane Maria
has caused widespread damage.
Messages posted on VIConsortium.com pleaded for
help from people in compromised buildings. Other posts sought information on
the whereabouts of loved ones.
Maria ripped off roofs and downed trees and power lines as
it passed to the west of the island as a Category 5 storm.
Some 65% to 70% of the buildings on St. Croix have been
damaged, according to Reuters.
"Roads are inaccessible. After the storm passed, I
walked several miles to Frederiksted and I saw downed power lines with wires
dangling, collapsed structures, trees stripped of all foliage. During the
storm, it was a continuous thundering rumble all night," said Scott Peake,
a storm tracker for the Weather Channel.
Peake described Maria as "far worse than Hurricane Hugo
in 1989." Hugo was a Category 5 storm, and the recovery and rebuilding
from that storm took St. Croix years.
On its Facebook page, the Buccaneer Hotel said it was spared
major damage and that all guests and staff are safe. The 69-year-old property
is near Christiansted in the center of the island.