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Fri Sep 29, 2017, 12:01 PM

Hurricane Maria decimated the nation's only tropical rain forest outside Hawaii

Source: Washington Post

Hurricane Maria decimated the nation’s only tropical rain forest outside Hawaii

By John Hopewell September 29 at 10:48 AM

Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico. The Category 4 storm destroyed thousands of homes, businesses, bridges, communication towers, the entire electrical grid — and America’s only tropical rain forest in the U.S. Forest Service system.

Across the 28,434-acre El Yunque National Forest, ferns and palms have been stripped of their fronds, and hardwood trees snapped in half like twigs. What was once a blanket of emerald green draped across the mountainous landscape is now a brown pile of detritus. “El Yunque National Forest will remain closed until further notice,” the Forest Service’s website says.

But like the cellphone towers and power poles that will rise again, so will the rain forest. After all, hurricanes have been menacing this region for millennia.

Located in the northeastern part of the island, the El Yunque National Forest is a tropical paradise that includes the 3,500-foot-high Luquillo Mountains. The 170-plus inches of rain that falls each year cascades off the steep slopes through sparkling waterfalls.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/09/29/hurricane-maria-decimated-the-nations-only-tropical-rain-forest/

The Luquillo Mountains stripped bare by Hurricane Maria. (Omar Gutiérrez del Arroyo Santiago via Earther.com)

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