Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic early Monday after making landfall in Puerto Rico with heavy rain, life-threatening flooding and island-wide power outages.
The Category 1 hurricane made landfall near Boca de Yuma at 3:30 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
As the storm was moving slowly to the northwest, it was still pouring torrential rain on Puerto Rico, where more than 1.4 million people are without power.
So far, at least one death has been reported in the devastated city of Basse-Terre, the capital of the French territory of Guadeloupe, said the vice president of the territory’s environment agency. say sunday.
The storm made landfall on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast Sunday afternoon, bringing down the island with winds of up to 75 miles per hour and bring 6-24 inches of rain to some areas later in the day, according to the National Weather Service.
Fiona will continue to hit Puerto Rico and eastern areas of the Dominican Republic on Monday. The eastern parts of the Dominican Republic are also subject to flooding as well as landslides and landslides in higher areas, according to the storm center. Fiona could bring up to 30 inches of total rainfall for Puerto Rico and up to 12 inches for eastern and northern Dominican Republic.
The storm is forecast to strengthen as it passes through the Dominican Republic and is expected to move into Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas on Monday and Tuesday. National Hurricane Center. Turks and Caicos are under hurricane warnings and the southern Bahamas are under tropical storm warnings.
LUMA Energy, Puerto Rico’s main power supplier, said in a statement Sunday it could take several days before power returned, adding “several transmission lines lost power” that was contributing. cause a power outage. The process will be done “gradually,” Governor Pedro Pierluisi said in a Facebook post.
The website PowerOutage.us reported the entire island was without power, early Monday morning, adding that LUMA had “re-energized some circuits, however there is limited information and no numbers are available.” on the number of customers restored.”
Power outages have become a familiar crisis for many people living in Puerto Rico. Just five months ago, residents experienced another island-wide blackout after a fire broke out at a power plant.
Some areas of the island still bear the vestiges of Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico nearly five years ago. After Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage to the territory’s infrastructure, it took nearly a year for power to be restored across the island.
Samuel Rivera and his mother Lourdes Rodriguez lived without power for about a year after Maria’s murder, Rivera told CNN’s Layla Santiago. On Sunday morning, they lost power again, evoking the same fear as the ones they had five years ago.
They said they were also concerned a nearby river could overflow and trees around their home could be toppled by strong winds.
As Hurricane Fiona made landfall Sunday, most of Puerto Rico was under flash flood warning in anticipation of downpours. The National Weather Service in San Juan warned of “catastrophic” and life-threatening flooding.
A video of the treacherous flood shows fast-moving water easily washing away a bridge, carrying its structure downstream. Another painting by Samuel De Jesús depicts a scene in the city of Arecibo as the rain falls in sheets, adding that fast-moving water covers large construction vehicles and entire trees.
Many rivers on the east side of the island were in moderate to heavy flooding on Sunday afternoon, including one in the southeast that surged more than 12 feet in less than seven hours. By Sunday evening, the National Weather Service also issued a flash flood warning across southern areas of central Puerto Rico.
Faced with the danger facing Puerto Rico, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration early Sunday morning to provide federal assistance for disaster relief efforts.
More than 300 FEMA emergency personnel were on hand to respond to the crisis, Anne Bink, the agency’s deputy director of Response and Recovery Management, told CNN.
“Our hearts go out to residents who are going through another catastrophic event five years later,” Bink said, nodding during Hurricane Maria’s fifth anniversary. This time, she said, FEMA plans to implement the lessons learned from the 2017 crisis.
“We’ve been much more prepared,” she said. “We have four warehouses strategically located across the island, including goods, the supply is exponentially larger than before.” .
“We’re proactive there – and before any storm hits – to make sure we’re coordinating. And all the planning efforts that we put in during those blue-sky days can have can be done when it rains.”