Valley Native's Family Braces Hurricane Maria in St. Croix
UPDATE (9/20): Diana Melendez said her husband and in-laws braced the Category 5 hurricane as it barreled towards St. Croix.
Melendez said her husband was able to call her Wednesday morning and told her every family member made it through the storm. She said the family's home only suffered minor damages.
She added she feels blessed because so many others weren't as lucky.
MCALLEN – A woman said she fears for the worse as Hurricane Maria barrels towards the island of St. Croix.
Diana Melendez and her husband, Adrian, are Rio Grande Valley natives. They married 10 years ago and are raising two children on the island of St. Croix.
"The sense of community compares to no other, it truly is a family," she said.
On Tuesday, St. Croix found itself in the path of Category 5 Hurricane Maria.
Melendez said small islands like St. Croix take longer to recover from major hurricanes than the US mainland.
"Supplies have to get imported. As it is, it's very expensive already because they do have to import supplies,” she said. “And if there is a hurricane in the water you can't just fly a plane over, what if the airports aren't functioning? You can't just sail a boat over.”
She and her family arrived to the Valley before Hurricane Irma hit their sister islands.
Melendez said her husband returned to St. Croix last week with supplies for those affected by Irma. Now, he finds himself in Maria’s path.
"Me, as a wife, I’m worried, you know. I think the thing that worries me the most is once we lose communication," Melendez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.
We were able to catch Adrian on the phone. He said he and his brother's family are hunkering down and doing the best they can to prepare for Maria’s wrath. Winds are already picking up.
"They are telling us that at probably at about 10 or 11 o'clock at night we are supposed to get the actual hurricane winds and the actual hurricane itself," Adrian Melendez explained.
Both Adrian and Diana said they have faith their family and friends will remain safe.
During these difficult times to come, Diana wants others to remember the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are a part of the U.S.
Diana said her husband now had access to a satellite phone. It means the family will still be able to maintain communication even when the island loses phone service.
We will continue to check in with Diana about the rest of their family.