2 Puerto Rican towns evacuated as dam fails

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The National Weather Service says the Guajataca Dam is failing in western Puerto Rico and buses are evacuating people “as quickly as they can.”

The government called the situation “extremely dangerous.”

The weather service office in San Juan says dam operators reported at 2:10 p.m. that the dam at the northern end of Lake Guajataca in the northwest corner of Puerto Rico was failing and causing flash flooding downstream.

Hurricane Maria is now moving away from the Turks and Caicos Islands as a powerful Category 3 storm.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria still has maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph). The core of the storm was about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Grand Turk Island at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Maria is moving to the north-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph) and the storm is expected to slowly weaken while making a turn toward the north by late Saturday. Forecasters in the Miami center say Maria’s fierce core is expected to move away from the Turks and Caicos Islands in coming hours and move to the northeast and east of the Bahamas over the weekend.