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EAST HARLEM, Manhattan – Thousands of people in Puerto Rico have fled to shelters to ride out this monster, historic storm – the likes of which hasn’t been seen for three generations.

It’s only a small fraction of the island’s three and a half million people. Even though Hurricane Maria has been downgraded to a Category 4 storms and came ashore with winds of 155 miles an hour, it could be the worst hurricane this island has ever experienced.

Winds and heavy rains will beat this already beleaguered island for the next 12 – 24 hours.

Conditions have been described as deadly.

Daniel Grajales, who lives in East Harlem, has family in Puerto Rico. He said since Irma passed by two weeks ago and knocked out electricity to most of the island, “We haven’t been able to get in touch for three days. It’s crazy. This storm is coming, and I can’t reach anyone. Phone. Internet. Nothing.”

The island has 500 shelters open, where they’ve been taking hundreds of pets as well as people.

However, the fears are that not everyone is heeding the warnings to evacuate and that some homes simply cannot withstand what the storm will bring.

Carlos Abarcua last spoke to his father, who lives in central Puerto Rico, on Tuesday night.  He’s worried, but hopes the secure home made of cement block will keep his father safe.  “All we can do is wait and see and pray. That’s all we have right now.”