People in Puerto Rico prepare for the worst as they wait for Hurricane Maria

450 shelters open on island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – People in Puerto Rico were making last-minute preparations Tuesday and heading to shelters as Hurricane Maria heads toward the island as a Category 5 storm.

Henry Rodriguez told Local 10 News that he brought his whole family to the shelter at San Juan City Hall, including his two daughters and his dog.

For some, the shelters are their only option.

"I come here for my daughter. We live in La Perla, and that's not safe right now," Rodriguez said. "The past hurricane -- Irma -- we passed here and this is a nice place. They treat us like we are home."

City Hall is one of at least 450 shelters open across Puerto Rico that are providing meals and a safe space for residents.

Rodriguez said many people are leaving La Perla because their homes aren't sturdy enough. He said he left all his belongings and got his family ready to wait out the storm.

"We need to be together right now," he said. "We need to work together."

With a fragile electrical system, many homes near the water and others made of wood, Puerto Rico is preparing for the worst.

Parts of the island were empty Tuesday, except for those making last-minute preparations or gathering supplies.

Many told Local 10 News that they're not sure what to expect with Maria, but aren't taking any chances.


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