Two girls play on cots at Humacao Arena refugee center in Puerto Rico Tuesday while waiting for the imminent impact of Maria. Photo: Carlos Giusti / AP

Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico just after 6:15 a.m. this morning as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155mph. It has since been downgraded to a Category 2 with winds at 110mph off the northwest coast of Puerto Rico. Homes are flooding and power lines have been downed across the entire island. Officials predict entire towns will have to be rebuilt.

Maria is the most powerful hurricane to threaten the region in almost 90 years.

Up next: The Dominican Republic is expected to experience hurricane conditions soon and Maria is expected to move to the Turks and Caicos Islands and to the southeastern Bahamas Thursday morning.

The latest:

  • The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosello, implemented a curfew, 6pm-6am effective Wednesday to Saturday.
  • One of Puerto Rico's biggest shelters lost its roof, according to witness accounts. More than 500 shelters were opened, per Rosello.
  • At least 7 have died from the hurricane in Dominica. 2 reportedly died on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. The U.S. Virgin Islands Operations Center said it was too dangerous to check on St. Croix residents.

Go deeper: Caribbean islands leveled by back-to-back hurricanes

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Amy Harder, author of Generate
5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."