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Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic early Monday after heavy rains, life-threatening flooding and island-wide power outages in Puerto Rico.
The Category 1 storm made landfall near Boca de Yuma at 3:30 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
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As the storm slowly moved northwestward, it was still pouring rain in Puerto Rico, where more than 1.4 million people lost power.
Basse-Terre, the capital of the French island of Guadeloupe, has suffered severe damage so far, with at least one reported death, said the deputy director of the region’s environment agency. sunday said.
Hurricane made landfall on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast Sunday afternoon 75 miles per hour Some areas will receive 6-24 inches of rain by the end of the day, according to the National Weather Service.
Fiona will continue to hit Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic on Monday. Flooding is also possible in the eastern Dominican Republic, along with mudslides and landslides in higher areas, according to the Hurricane Center. Fiona could bring as much as 30 inches of rain to Puerto Rico and up to 12 inches to the eastern and northern Dominican Republic.
The hurricane is forecast to intensify once it passes the Dominican Republic and is expected to move toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas on Monday and Tuesday. National Hurricane Center. The Turks and Caicos Islands are under a hurricane warning and the southern Bahamas is under a tropical storm watch.
Puerto Rico’s main power utility, LUMA Energy, said in a statement Sunday that it could take days to restore power, adding that “several transmission line interruptions” were the cause of the outage. The process will be “gradually completed,” Gov. Pedro Pierluis said in a Facebook post.
The website PowerOutage.us reported there was a power outage across the island on Monday morning, adding that LUMA had “reactivated some circuits, but there is limited information and no figures on how many customers have recovered.”
For many people living in Puerto Rico, power outages have become a familiar crisis. Just five months ago, residents experienced another island-wide blackout following a fire at a power plant.
Parts of the island are still scarred by Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico almost exactly five years ago. After Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage to the region’s infrastructure, it took nearly a year to restore power islandwide.
Rivera told CNN’s Leila Santiago that Samuel Rivera and his mother Lourdes Rodriguez had been without electricity for about a year after Maria’s attack. On Sunday morning, they lost their power again, evoking fears similar to those of five years ago.
They said they were also concerned that a nearby river might overflow and that the trees around their home could be knocked down by strong winds.
As Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sunday, much of Puerto Rico was under a flash flood warning with downpours expected. San Juan’s National Weather Service warned of “catastrophic” and life-threatening flooding conditions.
A video of dangerous flooding shows how fast water could easily wash a bridge away, carrying its structure downstream. Another photo by Samuel De Jesús depicts a scene in the city of Arecibo, where rain falls in patches, fast-moving water overtaking large construction vehicles and entire trees.
Many rivers on the east side of the island were in moderate to heavy flooding stages Sunday afternoon, with one southeastern river rising more than 12 feet in less than seven hours. By Sunday night, the National Weather Service also issued a flash flood warning for central and southern Puerto Rico.
In response to the risks facing Puerto Rico, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration early Sunday to provide federal aid for disaster relief efforts.
The agency’s deputy director of response and recovery, Anne Bink, told CNN that more than 300 FEMA emergency responders were on the scene responding to the crisis.
“Our hearts go out to residents who are experiencing yet another catastrophic event five years later,” Bink said in a nod to the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria. This time, FEMA plans to implement lessons learned from the 2017 crisis, she said.
“We are better prepared. We now have four warehouses strategically located across the island, which include commodities, and the supply is exponentially higher than in the past,” she said.
“We’re actively there — and before any storm hits — to make sure we’re coordinating. All the planning we do on a day with blue skies and clouds can be put into place when it rains.”