By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer & Mark Puleo, AccuWeather staff writer

After many tremors in the past week, and a 5.8 earthquake on Monday, a second, more powerful and deadly 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck just off the southern coast of Puerto Rico on Tuesday morning.

Following what the U.S. Geological Survey reported was a 6.4 quake that struck at 4:24 a.m., local time, reports of injuries and heavy building damage immediately rolled in. Eight individuals were injured and at least one fatality has been confirmed in the city of Ponce, according to the city’s Mayor Mayita Meléndez and Telemundo Puerto Rico.

On Twitter, Puerto Rico’s power authority reported that one of the country’s main power plants had been damaged by the quake, triggering a nationwide power outage. Officials expect power to be restored to the island later Tuesday.

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vasquez told a radio station that there were no fatalities in the immediate aftermath.

A 5.8 magnitude aftershock occurred at 6:18 a.m., local time, following the initial peak. The quake struck about 3 miles (5 kilometers) south-southwest of the town of Tallaboa, along the southern shores of Puerto Rico.

The United States National Tsunami Warning Center tweeted that a tsunami was not expected for the U.S. Atlantic or Gulf coasts. While a tsunami alert was initially made by the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, the alert was later discontinued according to the director.

Damage reports have ranged from collapsed buildings to cracked and raised roadways.

This comes less than 24 hours after a powerful 5.8 quake struck just south of the island early Monday morning.

Shaking was felt across much of the island from Monday’s temblor, including light shaking in the capital of San Juan. The epicenter was located about 9 miles (14 km) from the community of Indios in the municipality of Guayanilla.

The Associated Press reported that Monday’s earthquake-triggered small landslides, caused the foundations in homes to crack and resulted in numerous power outages.

Large boulders that toppled off hillsides were reportedly blocking major thoroughfares, including the highway near the town of Guanica that heads towards San Juan, the AP reported.

Jose Francisco Benitez, an attorney staying at a hotel in Guanica, told the AP that people panicked as they tried to leave in their cars only to realize they were stuck due to the road being blocked.

“The weather will be good for any cleanup efforts through the middle of the week with nothing more than a brief shower and occasional gusty wind,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Eric Leister.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...