Maria's flooding hits hard in Puerto Rico

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San Juan, Puerto Rico (APTN / CBS Newspath) -- Amateur video obtained by the Associated Press is showing devastation left by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Maria, one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit Puerto Rico, pummeled the island on Wednesday, tearing off roofs and doors, toppling cell towers and unleashing heavy flooding in an onslaught that could deepen the US territory's financial crisis. Courtesy; APTN/ FERNANDO NEGRON / CBS Newspath

A woman trapped on the second floor balcony of a house is heard saying the water is about to reach her.

One of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit Puerto Rico pummeled the island on Wednesday, tearing off roofs and doors, toppling cell towers and unleashing heavy flooding in an onslaught that could deepen the US territory's financial crisis.

Maria's death toll across the Caribbean climbed to at least 19, nearly all of them on the hard-hit island of Dominica.

The storm slammed into Puerto Rico on Wednesday with 155 mph (249 kph) winds, the strongest hurricane to hit the US territory in over 80 years.

It knocked out the entire electrical grid, destroyed homes and touched off ruinous flooding, though the full extent of the damage was still a question mark on Thursday because communication with some towns was cut off.

As of Thursday evening, Maria was moving off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic with winds of 120 mph (195 kph). The storm was expected to approach the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas late on Thursday and early on Friday.

From there, it is expected to veer into the open Atlantic, no threat to the US mainland.