Bracing for Category 5 Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's governor called the storm "the biggest and potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in a century."
2:19 | 09/19/17

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Transcript for Bracing for Category 5 Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
hurricane MARIA tonight. They are bracing for impact right now in Puerto Rico. Authorities say this double the most powerful hurricane to hit the eye Rand in a century. Officials telling thousands they must, quote, evacuate or risk dying. MARIA already deadly and battering the caribbean. Reports of American students missing in Dominica. Look at this point. The satellite showing the very well-formed eye of this storm, closing in on Puerto Rico at this hour. Senior meteorologist rob Marciano is in San Juan tonight. Reporter: Tonight, hurricane MARIA, ripping across the caribbean. Puerto Rico in its path. Already making landfall in Dominica, with 160-mile-per-hour winds. The only category 5 hurricane on record there. I believe we caught a very bad blow. There appears to be a lot of destruction. Reporter: Families of American medical students there sofa unable to make contact. Marco's been there since may. He's an awesome kid, and -- just need to hear from him. Reporter: The storm claiming at least one life in gad lup. More are missing. MARIA, now 450 mile wide. Exploiting from a category 1 to a cat 5 in just nine hours. This is, without a doubt, the most dangerous storm in our generation. Reporter: Puerto Rico, with over 3 million U.S. It senns at risk. Some warned tos vac wait, or risk death. Cynthia and her family seeking refuge in a hotel. Three dogs, 99-year-old mom. Didn't want to risk it. Reporter: The U.S. Territory facing up to nine feet of storm surge and two feet of rain. These are the type of neighborhoods they're worried about. Low, poorly built and completely exposed to the atlantic ocean. You get the surge and the wind. Wind is picking up. You can see the rain. It's coming in right now. Reporter: In advance of the storm, the U.S. Navy evacuating military personnel from the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands. Sadly, this is going to be a real test for Puerto Rico. Rob is live from San Juan. And rob, the ones picking up there? Reporter: They are, and they'll go downhill quickly tonight. The worst of this storm is going to hit between 9:00 A.M. And 5:00 if there's a positive to this, it will hit mostly during the day. Day or night, the destructive power of hurricane MARIA is simply frightening. David? Rob, thank you. Let's get to ginger with the new

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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