Hurricane Irma is bringing destruction to all in its path, and thousands are being told to get out of its way.
The hurricane made its presence known in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Wednesday night. A few families with New England ties were able to talk with NBC Boston over Skype about the damage it left behind, and the cleanup to come.
Reggie Diaz and his brother-in-law, Herman Colberg, were skeptical Irma would even make its way to Puerto Rico. Colberg has ties to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Diaz has a home in Vermont, but both of them still decided to stay put on the island.
"This is the scariest [hurricane] I have ever been in or seen on the island," said Diaz.
Both men live three or four miles from San Juan. They said they haven't heard of anybody hurt in their immediate communities, but still, months of cleanup are next.
"Everyone is helping each other to pick up trees to pick up all the debris from the hurricane," Diaz said. "A lot of people are without power, so we are seeing how we can help those people out."
They said the damage from flooding and high winds is nothing compared to their neighbors on the east side of the island.
"The eye came very close to that side of the island, so they suffered a lot," said Diaz.
The eye passed most of the main island, and possibly spared the area from the worst of the 185 mph winds --winds that eventually wreaked havoc on other Caribbean islands.
"I don't know how the people in Barbuda and St. Thomas are facing it," said Coldberg. "They got it really hard. I can't imagine the devastation."