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Adrian Florido

Alberto Carrión got out of bed while it was still dark Wednesday morning, and as he drove the winding road toward Puerto Rico's eastern coast, he looked up at the clouds through his drizzled windshield and worried.

"Please don't let it rain," he thought to himself. "Oh, no, please don't let it rain."

Carrion is a well known singer and composer in Puerto Rico, and on Wednesday morning, the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria's destructive tear across the island, he was driving toward Yabucoa, the town where the hurricane made landfall.

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Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

Puerto Rico's governor updated the island's official death toll for victims of Hurricane Maria on Tuesday, hours after independent researchers from George Washington University released a study estimating the hurricane caused 2,975 deaths in the six months following the storm.

As Hurricane Lane approached Hawaii's big island, it dumped record amounts of rain on the city of Hilo, on the island's eastern coast, causing flooding, landslides, and damage to homes.

But as all that water began draining out to sea, it also created the perfect conditions for Shawn Pila to grab his surfboard and jump into the concrete drainage canal near his home.

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Eleven months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said that the island's emergency is over. And because of that, the agency has begun scaling back its financial assistance to the island.

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The leadership of Puerto Rico's troubled electric utility — PREPA — crumbled on Thursday, as a majority of its board of directors, including its newly named CEO, resigned rather than submit to demands by the island's governor that the new CEO's salary be reduced.

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Luis Vázquez walked up to the elegant marble plaza in front of Puerto Rico's capitol building, bent over, and took off his shoes. He placed them among more than 400 other pairs that over several hours on Friday began forming a growing memorial to the hundreds, possibly thousands of people believed to have died as a direct or indirect result of Hurricane Maria, but whom Puerto Rico's government has yet to count.

Vázquez said his father was one of them.

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All right, let's get some reaction now from Puerto Rico, which is where we find our colleague, NPR's Adrian Florido. Hey, Adrian.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

For more than a week, Puerto Rico's representative in Congress has been urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend the contract under which mainland power crews have been helping repair the island's power grid.

Standing at a lectern before reporters Thursday, Carlos Acevedo, the head of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency, made an admission. Before Hurricane Maria, he said, the island's government did not take updates to its hurricane response plans seriously.

"Before Maria, updating our plans was very easy," Acevedo said. "We would take the first and last pages, remove them, replace them with new pages, sign them, and there was the new plan."

Updated 5:58 p.m. ET

The last of the federal government's power restoration crews are scheduled to leave Puerto Rico when their contract expires next week, leaving the island's power utility with the task of energizing the last 1.5 percent of customers still waiting eight months after Hurricane Maria.

But on Wednesday, the island's representative in Congress asked the federal government not to send its crews home.

As Puerto Rico continues its recovery from Hurricane Maria, officials on the island are preparing for billions of dollars in federal reconstruction aid that will begin flowing in the coming months.

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In the mountainous regions of Puerto Rico, tens of thousands of residents are still waiting for the lights to come back on. Why is power restoration for the last 2 percent of people taking so long?

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