NEXRAD radar, wind turbines, solar farms destroyed in Puerto Rico
October 02, 2017; 4:20 PM
On Sept. 24, four days after Category 4 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, I retweeted this post by the NWS in San Juan, Puerto Rico, showing the damage to their NEXRAD radar. I've seen radar domes crushed before by straight-line thunderstorm winds, but never one completely destroyed.
You can only see parts of the shell of the dome's bottom and the horn (there's supposed to be a dish around the horn inside the dome as shown by the illustration; believe it or not, there was only one photo of the San Juan NEXRAD radar on the internet before Maria swept through).
A few days later, NOAA released aerial photos of the coastal areas, giving us a chance to look at other infrastructure. Here's what's left of a wind farm in Punta Lima, Playa Hucares, Puerto Rico (click to enlarge):
This wind farm is located near the shore on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, which would have seen the strongest winds from the northeast quadrant of the storm, with nothing to stop the flow over the ocean. The video below shows a better view where you can see that almost every turbine is damaged, and many are completely destroyed. It also shows a destroyed solar farm, which is not available on the aerial images. With all this damage to infrastructure, it will take years to recover.
The Santa Isabela wind farm on the south side of the island may have fared much better -- although I can only see three of the turbines on the new aerial photos, they all appear intact, even though the crops around them are destroyed. Also shown in the video above is the Humacao Solar farm which was built way too close to the coast; it was under construction but had hundreds of solar panels that were destroyed.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com