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Lopez family survives Maria's blast

Second category 5 hurricane for grandfather, 100
October 9, 2017

For more than 100 years, Ernesto Ramirez has lived in Puerto Rico and he doesn't plan to leave.

“I talk to my grandfather every day at 6:15 p.m., and he's doing great,” said Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, his grandfather's namesake.

Lopez said his grandfather remained in the San Juan apartment where he has lived for 35 years, even as Hurricane Maria barreled down on the island with full category 5 force.

Lopez said he also has an aunt and cousins who live on the island, and they all have supported each other throughout the storm's aftermath. Power has been sporadic at times, but it has now been restored and his family has use of both water and electricity.

“My family is very blessed,” said Lopez, acknowledging that other areas of Puerto Rico continue to struggle.

Although hurricanes and storms are common for the island, Lopez said Hurricane Maria gave him pause. “This is the first time I've been anxious,” he said.

But, he said, his grandfather was quick to remind him that he was born in 1917 and lived on the island for 15 years before the luxuries of running water and electricity arrived. He also reminded Lopez that he survived Hurricane San Felipe Segundo in 1928, the last time a category 5 hurricane directly hit Puerto Rico.

“That was the first thing he brought up, that he survived the hurricane in 1928, and he said he'll survive this one, too,” Lopez said.