Officials have urged residents to seek shelter and warned that the category 4 storm's powerful winds would be life-threatening. The eye of the storm can be clearly seen in the video, with swirling cloud surrounding it.
As many as 25 inches of rain are expected to hit Puerto Rico, with storm surges of up to 9 feet and the possibility of tornadoes on Wednesday, the San Juan office of the U.S. National Weather Service said.
The storm ripped off the roofs of houses as it pummeled the island as an extremely unsafe Category 5 storm, according to The National Hurricane Center.
Maria was moving toward the west-northwest and this general motion was expected to continue through Wednesday night.
Mr. Skerrit said that "the winds have swept away the roofs of nearly every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with".
"Several tornadoes" were also projected for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday and Wednesday. While the storm diverted north instead of directly hitting Puerto Rico, more than 1.5 million people lost power, Reuters reported.
It may weaken slightly but is still expected to be an "extremely unsafe category 4 or 5" when it hits Puerto Rico, the hurricane center said.
As with any hurricane, don't focus exclusively on wind speed - the storm surge and rain matter too.
Some residents and tourists got on the last flights to Florida, hoping to avoid the monster storm all together.