Communications issues hamper evacuations downstream of failing Puerto Rican dam

Guajataca Lake - Photo from Google Maps

tv/2017/09/22/tl-santiago-puerto-rico-maria-jake-tapper.cnn

Puerto Rican officials could not communicate with more than half the towns in the U.S. territory as they rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of people downstream of a failing dam.

Authorities launched an evacuation of the 70,000 people living downstream from the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico, sending buses to move people away Friday and posting frantic warnings on Twitter that went unseen by many in the blacked-out coastal area.

The 345-yard (316-meter) dam was built around 1928. It holds back a man-made lake covering about 2 square miles (5 square kilometers). More than 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) of rain fell on the surrounding mountains after the Category 4 Maria left the island Wednesday afternoon.