Former Racine resident makes it through Hurricane Irma

Posted at 6:42 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 19:42:44-04

It was a tumultuous night outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico, but JC Marquez and his family made it through. 

Hurricane Irma pounded the island, but the eye of the storm passed just north of the U.S. Territory; avoiding catastrophic damage like other Caribbean Islands suffered earlier this week. 

"Within the circumstances, I would have to say here in Puerto Rico, we were extremely lucky," Marquez said. "All the things I saw walking around my neighborhood, it's things that can be fixed over time. Just seeing the other islands and the devastation the hurricane caused them, we're truly blessed here on the island we only got what we did. It could have been 10 times worse."

Marquez says he had some downed palm trees in his neighborhood but not too much flooding. He says his family on the east coast of the island had more flooding, but not as severe as what was seen in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. 

The problem for him was with the Irma's powerful winds.

"Because of the harsh winds, water will find its way into whatever cracks it can get into," Marquez said. "We had some leakage in one of our bedrooms through the windows. You see establishments with roof and ceilings caved in. A car dealership, the roof caved in on to some of the vehicles. It was pretty intense going towards where my aunt lives. The houses, the way they're structured, the ceilings and roofs are completely missing."

He has been without power since Wednesday and early on Thursday, his running water stopped. 

But it's nothing new for him and other residents of Puerto Rico. Just last year they had to deal with a terrible drought where water was rationed. 

"We were on rations for 72 hours," Marquez said. "We would go three days without water and one day with water. Sometimes that day would only be a half day. I can do a whole lot of things without electricity but I can't do a whole lot of things without water."

He does have a 250 gallon water tank on his roof, though he says it can only be used for hygiene.