September 30, 2022
Hurricane Fiona hits the Dominican Republic with “devastating” damage, causing “historic” flooding in Puerto Rico
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Hurricane Fiona was seen over the far eastern side of the Dominican Republic early on September 19, 2022.

NOAA


Hurricane Fiona made landfall over the Dominican Republic early Monday Scrubbing the power grid and mitigating floods and a landslide in Puerto Rico, whose governor called the damage “devastating.”

The Hurricane Center said that Fiona reached the Dominican Republic near Boca de Yuma at 3:30 a.m. EDT, with sustained winds of 90 mph:

As of 5 a.m. EDT, Fiona was about 15 miles west-southwest of Punta Cana and was moving to the northwest at 8 mph.

The center said Fiona is expected to “emerge over the southwestern Atlantic” on Monday afternoon and pass “near or east of Turks and Caicos” on Tuesday, strengthening all the time and becoming a major hurricane on Wednesday .

No casualties were reported, but US field officials said it was too early to estimate the damage caused by the storm, which was expected to bring torrential rains and further flooding across the island on Monday. Up to 30 inches were forecast for the eastern and southern regions of Puerto Rico.

“It’s important that people understand it’s not over,” said Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.

He said the floods had reached “historic levels”, with officials evacuating or rescuing hundreds of people across the island.

“The damage we are seeing is devastating,” said Governor Pedro Pierlucci.

Puerto Rico Tropical Weather
A road is blocked by a landslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Caye, Puerto Rico on September 18, 2022.

Stephanie Rojas / AP


Brown water seeped into streets, homes and even consumed a runway airport in southern Puerto Rico.

Fiona ripped asphalt off roads and swept a bridge in the central mountain town of Utuado, which police say was set up by the National Guard after Hurricane Maria hit as a Category 4 hurricane in 2017.

The storm broke the roofs of several homes, including Nelson Sirino, in the northern coastal city of Loiza.

“I was sleeping and saw when the corrugated metal flew off,” he said as the rain soaked his belongings.

Hurricane Fiona Landfalls in Puerto Rico
People clear a road from fallen trees after Hurricane Fiona affected the area in Yaco, Puerto Rico, on September 18, 2022.

Ricardo Arduengo / Reuters


Dean Criswell, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in a statement to CBS News Sunday night that the agency was “actively supporting” Puerto Rico and “promptly deployed hundreds of FEMA personnel before the storm struck.” “

“Our focus right now is on life-saving efforts and responding to urgent needs such as power restoration,” Criswell said.

It hit the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which slammed into the island in 1989 as a Category 3 hurricane.

Hurricane Fiona Landfalls in Puerto Rico
A sign of a gas station damaged by Hurricane Fiona lies on the ground in Yauco, Puerto Rico on September 18, 2022.

Ricardo Arduengo / Reuters


As officials continued to assess damage from Fiona, many wondered when power would be restored.

“It’s probably the worst loss,” said Tomas Rivera, who co-owns a hotel in the southwest coastal town of El Combet.

As the storm approached, President Biden declared a state of emergency in US territory.

The blackout caused Maria was blamed for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people following the intensification of the storm. Electricity was not restored in some neighborhoods until a year later.

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