October 3, 2022
Fiona targets Puerto Rico, threatens to strengthen in storm

Puerto Rican faced severe wind and rain Tropical Storm Fiona It was expected to turn into a hurricane before hitting the south coast of the US territory on Sunday.

Forecasters said “historic” levels of rain were expected to cause landslides and heavy flooding, with forecasts up to 25 inches in isolated areas.

“It is time to act and be concerned,” said Puerto Rico’s Emergency Management Commissioner Nino Correa.

Fiona Ponce was centered 65 miles southeast of Puerto Rico, early Sunday. National Hurricane Center said, It had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was moving to the west-northwest near 8 mph.

The storm was forecast in cities and towns along Puerto Rico’s southern coast that have yet to fully recover from a string of strong earthquakes that began in late 2019. President Biden approved an emergency declaration for the island early Sunday, marshalling federal resources. To coordinate disaster response.

More than 100 people had sought refuge across the island as of Saturday night, most of them in the southern coastal city of Guaynilla.

Concern had risen across the island with Fiona just two days before the anniversary of Hurricane MariaA devastating Category 4 hurricane that struck on September 20, 2017, destroyed the island’s power grid and killed nearly 3,000 people.

Puerto Rico Tropical Weather
Residents apply protective plywood to a window of their home in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Fiona in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Saturday, September 17, 2022.

Alejandro Granadillo / AP

“I think all of us Puerto Ricans who have lived through Maria have that post-traumatic stress of, ‘What’s going to happen, how long is this going to last and what needs are we going to face? ‘” said Danny Hernandez, who works in the capital of San Juan but plans to weather the storm with his parents and family in the western city of Mayaguez.

He said the atmosphere in the supermarket was gloomy as he and others had stocked up before the storm struck.

“After Maria, we all experienced some degree of scarcity,” he said.

Many Puerto Ricans were also concerned about the blackout. Luma, the company that operates power transmission and distribution, warned of “widespread service interruptions”. As of Sunday morning, over 128,700 customers were without electricity.

Puerto Rico’s power grid was ravaged by Hurricane Maria and remains vulnerable with recent reconstruction. Jam is an everyday occurrence.

Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierlusi, said he was ready to declare a state of emergency if needed and activated the National Guard as the sixth designated hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season.

“What worries me the most is the rain,” said Ernesto Morales, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in San Juan.

Fiona was predicted to fall between 12 and 16 inches of rain in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 25 inches of rain in isolated places.

The National Weather Service warned late Saturday that the Blanco River has already crossed its banks in the southeastern coastal city of Naguabo and urged people living nearby to move immediately.

Fiona was forecast to swipe the Dominican Republic and then northern Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Monday with the threat of heavy rain. This could threaten the far southern tip of the Bahamas on Tuesday.

A Hurricane Warning was posted for the east coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Cosado to Cabo Frances Viejo.

Officials said Fiona had previously battered the eastern Caribbean, killing one person in the French region of Guadeloupe after floods swept away her home. The storm also damaged roads, uprooted trees and destroyed at least one bridge.

Saint Kitts and Nevis also reported flooding and downed trees and announced that its international airport would reopen on Sunday afternoon. Dozens of customers were still without electricity or water, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

In the eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Madeline was forecast to bring heavy rain and flooding to parts of southwestern Mexico. The storm was centered about 165 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes on Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

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