Last night in Puerto Rico, the world as residents knew it, ended.
Hurricane Maria caused so much devastation that there is no telling when electricity will be restored. There is no power on the entire island, casting 3.4 million people back in time by 100 years.
And even worse, 100 years ago, homes were designed to function without electricity. They were designed to have cooking methods that did not require electricity. The architecture was such that windows were placed in prime locations for cross-breezes. People had gardens and fruit trees and they knew how to raise livestock. This is like being thrown back in time with only useless things like laptops and window-unit air conditioners. Many people no longer have the necessary skills to function in this different world.
This is a classic SHTF moment because everything has changed. Finding the basics of survival is now completely different than it was 24 hours ago. Food, water, and shelter will be the primary concern of millions of people.
Surviving the Category 4 hurricane was the easy part. Surviving the aftermath is going to be the real challenge.
A couple of days ago, I wrote about this very issue, stating that when the power went off there, restoring it would be no easy matter. Of course, naysayers told me I was being overly doomy. There is so much cognitive dissonance that most folks simply cannot imagine a way of life that doesn't include the rapid restoration of electricity, internet, and normalcy. Those people will be in big trouble should such a disaster ever strike mainland America, because they won't be able to accept the changes and work within their new reality.
The catastrophic damage
Locals describe damage that is positively disastrous in nature.
It ripped apart homes, snapped power lines and turned roadways into torrents laden with debris as it cut a diagonal swath across the island.
The entire island of 3.4 million people was under a flash flood warning early on Thursday as the storm was forecast to dump 20 to 30 inches (50 to 76 cm) of rain on much of Puerto Rico through Friday, according to the NHC.