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ST. CROIX (KDKA) — A member of the Pittsburgh Army Corps of Engineers who traveled to the Virgin Islands to help with Hurricane Irma relief now finds himself staring down the barrel of Hurricane Maria.
Colonel John Lloyd, of Pittsburgh, arrived ten days ago in the Virgin Islands with the Army Corps of Engineers to help with Hurricane Irma. They’ve been setting up temporary emergency power, cleaning up storm debris and communicating with FEMA.
He spoke with KDKA Tuesday on Facetime and says it’s like a small nuclear bomb exploded.
“If you could imagine in your neighborhood, every powerline being down, all the roofs being ripped off, and debris everywhere, that’s kind of what it would look like,” he said.
But now, Hurricane Maria is on the way. It made landfall Monday night as a Category Five with 160 mph winds. Maria is targeting other islands that did not get the full fury of Hurricane Irma, and that includes St. Croix.
The storm is expected to hit Tuesday night, and Lloyd and other members of the Corps find themselves in the direct path.
“We are going to work with the hotel staff and probably move to the basement laundry facilities that we have assessed structurally [and determined] to be the safest place for us to ride out the storm to the end,” Lloyd said.
He fears the 18 to 24 inches of rain that’s expected will cause widespread flooding and says they’ll have a logistical challenge moving aid around with another island ravaged by a hurricane.
But he’s impressed with the island people.
“One thing I will tell you that I find absolutely remarkable of the people of the Virgin Islands is how resilient they are through these storms,” he said. “I mean, right after the storm, you see people out, trying to get after it, trying to get their lives together to as quickly return to normalcy.”