Satellite images show how dark Puerto Rico is at night after earthquakes caused power outages
PUERTO RICO — Satellite images taken at night are showing just how much of Puerto Rico doesn’t have any power. Some people may be without power for over a year.
About two-thirds of Puerto Rico is without power after strong earthquakes and aftershocks rocked the southwestern shore of the island Tuesday morning, Puerto Rico Electric Power said. An unknown number of people do not have water service, either.
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That’s because the Costa Sur power plant near Guayanilla, the largest power plant on the island, was severely damaged by the earthquakes on Tuesday, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced said.
Jose Ortiz, executive director of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA), told CBS News Thursday that the earthquake damage, in addition to a lack of equipment updates to the 60-year-old facility, is what is keeping the plant offline.
PREPA’s engineering director Daniel Hernandez says about 75% of homes in Puerto Rico should have power by the weekend. But Ortiz told CBS News on Thursday he expects that parts of Puerto Rico will be without power for more than a year.
The satellite imagery taken by NASA’s Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite early Tuesday morning—before the power plant was knocked offline—shows what Puerto Rico looks like on a normal, clear night.
But imagery from Wednesday, after the strong earthquakes and aftershocks shook the island on Monday and Tuesday, shows lights on the island are considerably dimmer.
Puerto Rico remained considerably dark in early Thursday morning satellite imagery. It looks nearly unchanged to the imagery from Wednesday.
Comparing Tuesday’s imagery to Thursday’s imagery shows just how drastic the power outages are, and how little power has been restored. After Hurricane Maria tore through the island in September 2017, it took 11 months for power to be fully restored in Puerto Rico.