Hurricane Fiona hits the Dominican Republic after turning off power in Puerto Rico and causing “catastrophic” damage

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Hurricane Fiona raged in the Dominican Republic on Monday after shutting off power throughout Puerto Rico, causing damage that the governor stated was “catastrophic”. Many individuals are left with out water service.

No deaths have been reported, however U.S. authorities stated it was too early to know the full extent of damage from a significant storm that was nonetheless anticipated to ship torrential rains throughout Puerto Rico on Monday.

The island’s Nationwide Climate Service stated flash flooding was occurring in south-central Puerto Rico and tweeted, “MOVE TO HIGH LAND IMMEDIATELY!”

PUERTO RICO-Weather-Hurricane-Fiona
A waterlogged highway is seen because it passes by means of Hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico, on September 18, 2022.

JOSE RODRIGUEZ/AFP through Getty Photographs

As much as 22 inches of rain fell in some areas of Puerto Rico and forecasters stated one other 4 to eight inches might fall – probably as much as 15 inches in some locations – at the same time as the storm drifts away.

A complete of 15 inches is projected for the japanese Dominican Republic, the place authorities are telling most individuals to remain dwelling from work, closing ports and banning use of seashores.

“It’s necessary for individuals to grasp that it’s not over but,” stated Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the Nationwide Climate Service in San Juan.

He stated flooding reached “historic ranges,” with authorities evacuating or rescuing a whole lot of individuals throughout the island.

“The damage we noticed was catastrophic,” stated Governor Pedro Pierluisi.

It National Hurricane Center says Monday morning that the hurricane’s epicenter was close to the northern coast of the Dominican Republic and “life-threatening catastrophic flooding” continued throughout a lot of Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Fiona makes landfall in the Dominican Republic
A person stands amid particles on the seaside after Hurricane Fiona in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 19, 2022.

RICARDO ROJAS / REUTERS

The area’s water company reported that it had reduce off home providers to many areas because of turbulent water or electrical energy shortages.

Earlier than daybreak on Monday, authorities in a ship navigated flooded streets in the northern coastal metropolis of Catano and used a megaphone to warn individuals {that a} pump had collapsed, urging them to evacuate as quickly as potential.

Authorities say not less than 1,300 individuals spent the evening in shelters throughout the island.

Brown water flows by means of the streets, into homes and eats up the runway of an airport in southern Puerto Rico.

Deanne Criswell, director of the Federal Emergency Administration Company, stated in a press release to CBS Information late Sunday that the company was “actively supporting” Puerto Rico and “swiftly deploying a whole lot of FEMA personnel earlier than the storm lands.”

“Our focus proper now could be on saving lives and responding to pressing wants corresponding to power restoration,” Criswell stated.

Fiona additionally ripped asphalt off the highway and washed away a bridge in the downtown mountain city of Utuado that police say was put in by the Nationwide Guard after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017 as a Class 4 hurricane.

The storm additionally destroyed roofs of homes, together with Nelson Cirino’s dwelling in the northern coastal metropolis of Loiza.

“I used to be sleeping and watched as the corrugated steel flew,” he stated, watching the rain soak his belongings and the wind tossing his colourful curtains into the air.

Fiona was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) southeast of Samana in the Dominican Republic, with most sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) early Monday, in line with the US Nationwide Hurricane Heart. It was transferring northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

Tropical storm winds stretch so far as 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the heart.

Forecasters stated the storm was anticipated to emerge over the Atlantic in the afternoon and cross close to the Turks and Caicos islands on Tuesday. It might method Bermuda as a significant storm Thursday evening or Friday.

Fiona hit Puerto Rico on the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which hit the island in 1989 as a Class 3 hurricane, and two days earlier than the anniversary of 2017’s devastating Hurricane Maria – whose territory has not but totally recovered.

The storm induced practically 3,000 deaths and destroyed the power grid. 5 years later, greater than 3,000 houses nonetheless have solely blue tarps as roofs.

Authorities introduced Monday that electrical energy had been returned to 100,000 clients on the island of three.2 million individuals, however electrical energy distribution firm Luma stated it might take days to completely restore service.

US President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency on US territory as the eye of the storm approaches the southwest nook of the island.

Puerto Rican well being facilities use turbines – and a few of them fail. Well being Secretary Carlos Mellado stated crews have been speeding to restore the generator at the Complete Most cancers Heart, the place some sufferers needed to be evacuated.

Fiona had beforehand struck the japanese Caribbean, killing one particular person in the French area of Guadeloupe when flooding washed away her dwelling, officers stated.


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