Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm demolished homes, flooded towns and knocked out the island's entire energy grid.
An Austin police officer from the U.S. territory described his family’s experience as they rode out the storm.
Officer Ivan Ramos was watching from Austin as not one, but two hurricanes barreled down on his hometown this month.
“My family's still there, my heart is still there and just watching them going through this is not easy,” said Ramos.
The island was still recovering from Hurricane Irma when Maria directly targeted it just two weeks later.
Two people are confirmed dead after the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years.
“The whole island is out of power right now, a lot of places have no water either,” Ramos said.
Ramos lived on the island until 1991 when he left for college. He's experienced hurricanes there before.
“We've gone through a couple that I can remember in my childhood, but obviously this is the worst one,” said Ramos.
Maria is actually the strongest storm to target the U.S. territory since 1932.
“There's still some places they haven't been able to get ahold of and reach to see how are things in that area,” Ramos said.
Luckily for Ramos, his family has been able to contact him.
“She described she came outside and she said like it looked like a dump truck just dumped a whole trash in front of her house. That's how much debris was blown and flown everywhere,” said Ramos.
3.4 million people have been left in the dark following the storm and the governor said it could be weeks or months before the power is back on.
“The priority right now is power, especially to hospitals to take care of the people that have injuries and people that are in the hospitals right now,” Ramos said.
Ramos traveled home last year for APD recruiting efforts, but he said once the airport reopens he may go back to help clean up. Either way, Ramos said he knows the resilience of Puerto Ricans and he has no doubt they will bounce back.
“We've all always come together and this is it, this is just a test and I'm pretty sure they're going to come up
The Puerto Rican government has hired contractors to clear trees and help rebuild power lines.
The entire island has been declared a federal disaster zone.