By Cailey Rizzo
September 24, 2019
NWS/NOAA

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck 49 miles off the northwest coast of Puerto Rico late Monday evening. No immediate damage from the earthquake has yet been reported nor is there a tsunami alert, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The earthquake struck while Puerto Rico prepares for the potential impact of Tropical Storm Karen. The storm is expected to hit the island on Tuesday, bringing risk of flash flooding and landslides.

The earthquake struck at 11:23 p.m. local time Monday night, jolting many Puerto Ricans awake.

The earthquake has triggered a flurry of aftershocks, which could continue for the next week. An earthquake of this magnitude has not hit Puerto Rico since January 2014, when a 6.4-magnitude quake struck a few miles off the island’s northern coast.

As Tropical Storm Karen approaches, it is estimated that about 30,000 Puerto Ricans are still living under tarp cover because of the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Tropical Storm Karen is not expected to bring anywhere close to the devastation that Maria brought two years ago.

“Let’s prepare for the worst, even though what’s coming is a storm,” Carlos A. Acevedo, director of Puerto Rico’s Bureau for Emergency and Disaster Management, said on Monday, according to The New York Times.

The risk of flash floods will likely continue through Wednesday. More isolated regions of Puerto Rico are expected to receive up to six inches of rain during the storm.

Ferries to the smaller islands of Vieques and Culebra were suspended on Monday evening. Schools and government offices were closed Tuesday. Residents are encouraged to stay inside or seek shelter with friends and family while the storm passes.

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