SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Dorian was poised to test Puerto Rico two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. But even with heavy winds and choppy surf, it appeared Wednesday that the Caribbean island was spared the worst of the storm.
Shutters were going up last minute Wednesday morning at a grocery store in San Juan, Puerto Rico, hours before the island really began to feel the effects of the storm.
"We're a little sad that the storm is here, but what can we do? We can't go away," Anaisa Suarez, who is vacationing in Puerto Rico this week, said.
San Juan resident Torrence Bolsaias said he didn't think this storm would be too much of a problem for the island.
As day turned into evening, there was a sense of calm in Puerto Rico. There were also signs of life on the once-empty streets.
Shoppers with experience from Hurricane Maria told Local 10 News reporter Janine Stanwood they weren't as worried this time around.
Some gas stations had lines Wednesday morning as people topped off their tanks.
At one strip mall in Isla Verde, business owners and managers were protecting their livelihoods, but hoping to keep their stores open as long as they can.
"I think we're going to be cool. Not like Maria," store manager Sasha Reyes said. "Maria was a very hard hurricane. This is something more little, so we are more calm."
The governor said there's more money set aside this year for the potential of downed power lines.
San Juan's mayor said there are also more generators and the city is more prepared for whatever Dorian might bring.
But some on the island said that despite government assurances that they are more prepared, they've been dreading this day.
"I'm really worried because everything about Maria, you know, given those flashbacks and everything. So (tropical storms and hurricanes) worry everybody over here in Puerto Rico," Jaime Figueroa said.
While Puerto Rico was spared the brunt of Dorian, that wasn't the case in the Virgin Islands.
Dorian roared through St. Thomas and St. John Wednesday, with driving rain and powerful winds wreaking havoc on marinas.
A weather station near St. Thomas reported sustained winds near 80 mph.