TOA BAJA, P.R. — Five years after Hurricane Maria turned her neighborhood into a river of mud, María Cortés Dávila prepared once again to face the implacable waters with a broom.
This time, it was the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, a storm with weaker winds that nonetheless managed to thrust more than a million people in darkness, trigger mudslides, flood neighborhoods and paralyze the island. The storm, now headed toward Bermuda, left something else in its wake: a massive cleanup job — and a deepening sense among residents here that recovery from this, and future storms, is largely up to them.
Hurricane Fiona’s floods had started to recede. Ms. Cortés Dávila put on a blue T-shirt, shorts and knee-high rubber boots and awoke her three children, mother and grandmother to begin the first of many long cleanup days in what has, for many Puerto Ricans, become a dreaded storm season ritual.