Severe thunderstorms, damaging winds pose threat to tri-state area Thursday

Island-wide blackout hits Puerto Rico, which is suffering unstable power grid after hurricane

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — An island-wide blackout hit Puerto Rico, which is suffering from an unstable power grid following devastating hurricanes that hit last fall.

The island's utility said power should be restored within 24 to 36 hours. The first priority will be to restore electricity to hospitals, then the Luis Munoz Marin Airport, then pumping systems then banks, AEE said. After that, they'll focus on large industrial areas, stores and homes, in that order.

This island-wide blackout comes less than a week after a tree fell on a major power line, knocking out service to 870,000 customers, about half of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's clients, the company said.

For months, Puerto Rico has grappled with widespread power outages after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. commonwealth.

It's the first time since Category 4 storm hit on Sept. 20 that Puerto Rico has experienced a full island-wide blackout.

Some 40,000 power customers were still without normal electricity service as a result of the hurricane.

Puerto Rico has lost 3.4 billion customer-hours of electricity service due to Maria, according to an analysis released on April 12 by the economic data analytics and policy firm Rhodium Group. That made it the largest blackout in US history and the second largest in the world — after the outage caused when Typhoon Haiyan tore the Philippines in 2013, killing more than 6,000 people.

Video produced by Summer Delaney.

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