ST. CROIX (KDKA) — A local man who went to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help after Hurricane Irma ended up experiencing a hurricane for the first time when Maria blew through St. Croix.
Photos show powerlines down, trees blown over, roofs blown off and horses wandering the streets.
The photographer — Colonel John Lloyd, of Upper St. Clair — says you can’t really capture the extent of the damage in pictures.
“The magnitude of it, really, the pictures don’t do it justice,” he said.
When Hurricane Maria blew across St. Croix, Lloyd hunkered down inside a hotel along with some of his colleagues and hotel guests. He says that his engineers had tested the hotel to be sure it was structurally safe, but still, part of the roof was torn off and water started coming in.
“I have not ever been through a hurricane or any weather phenomenon to that magnitude,” he said. “I mean, just the amount of wind sounded like a freight train coming through the hotel, and the sheer amount of rain was just unbelievable.”
Lloyd and his team are now working primarily to get power to hospitals and shelters and to get the roads cleared. He says his team will stay until the island is functional again.
He says he visited the Virgin Islands on a cruise years ago and is shocked by the change, but encouraged by the resiliency of the people.
“It really is sad. I was telling my wife and showing her some pictures. Just the devastation done to businesses and people’s residences, not having power and all those things,” he said. “It really is heartbreaking.”
Lloyd says that they are having to divert some of the resources, like generators, from places hit by Irma to places like St. Croix that got hit by Hurricane Maria.