Hurricane Fiona slams Dominican Republic after knocking out power in Puerto Rico and causing “catastrophic” damage

Hurricane Fiona causes catastrophic damage

Hurricane Fiona causes catastrophic damage throughout Caribbean


Hurricane Fiona unleashed extra rain on Puerto Rico on Monday, a day after the storm knocked out power and water to many of the island, and National Guard troops rescued a whole bunch of people that received stranded.

The governor warned that it may take days to get the lights again on.

The blow from Fiona was made extra devastating as a result of Puerto Rico has but to get better from Hurricane Maria, which killed practically 3,000 individuals and destroyed the power grid in 2017. Five years later, greater than 3,000 properties on the island are nonetheless lined by blue tarps.

The storm stripped pavement from roads, tore off roofs and despatched torrents pouring into properties. It additionally took out a bridge and flooded two airports.

Authorities reported two deaths from the hurricane — a Puerto Rican man who was swept away by a flooded river and an individual in the Dominican Republic who was hit by a falling tree.

The storm was nonetheless anticipated to dump as much as 15 inches of rain in some locations because it spun away from the U.S. territory that’s residence to three.2 million individuals.

A flooded highway is seen throughout the passage of hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico, on September 18, 2022. 

JOSE RODRIGUEZ/AFP by way of Getty Images

Forecasts referred to as for the storm to develop into a significant hurricane of Category 3 or higher. It was on a path to move near the Turks and Caicos islands on Tuesday and was not anticipated to threaten the U.S. mainland.

One loss of life in Puerto Rico was related to the blackout — a 70-year-old man who was burned to loss of life after he tried to fill his generator with gasoline whereas it was operating, officers mentioned.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi declined to say how lengthy it might take to totally restore electrical energy, however he mentioned for many prospects it might be “a question of days.”

Since the beginning of the storm, National Guard troops have rescued greater than 900 individuals, Gen. José Reyes instructed a information convention.

Meanwhile in the Dominican Republic, authorities closed ports and seashores and instructed most individuals to remain residence from work. Nearly 800 individuals had been evacuated to safer areas, and greater than 700 had been in shelters, officers mentioned.

The hurricane left a number of highways blocked, and a vacationer pier in the city of Miches was badly broken by excessive waves. At least 4 worldwide airports had been closed, officers mentioned.

The Dominican president, Luis Abinader, mentioned authorities would wish a number of days to evaluate the storm’s results.

Back in Puerto Rico, the National Weather Service office mentioned flash flooding was occurring in south-central elements of the island and tweeted, “MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IMMEDIATELY!”

Up to 22 inches of rain fell in some areas of Puerto Rico, and forecasters mentioned one other 4 to eight inches may fall because the storm strikes away, with much more attainable in some locations.

“It’s important people understand that this is not over,” mentioned Ernesto Morales, a climate service meteorologist in San Juan.

He mentioned flooding reached “historic levels,” with authorities evacuating or rescuing a whole bunch of individuals throughout Puerto Rico.

“The damages that we are seeing are catastrophic,” Pierluisi mentioned.

Water service was reduce to greater than 837,000 prospects — two thirds of the overall on the island — due to turbid water at filtration vegetation or lack of power, officers mentioned.

The National Hurricane Center said Monday evening that “heavy rains” from Fiona would proceed to fall over Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic all through the night time. As of 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday, it was centered about 130 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island and heading northwest at 10 mph, with most sustained winds of 100 mph.

Hurricane Fiona makes landfall in the Dominican Republic
A person stands amidst particles on the seashore in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 19, 2022.


Deanne Criswell, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, mentioned in a press release to CBS News on Sunday night time that the company was “actively supporting” Puerto Rico and “immediately deployed hundreds of FEMA personnel before the storm made landfall.”

“Our focus right now is on life-saving efforts and response to immediate needs such as power restoration,” Criswell mentioned. 

A Biden administration official instructed CBS News on Monday that greater than 300 FEMA and federal personnel had been already in Puerto Rico. That included power restoration specialists from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, together with FEMA Urban Search and Rescue groups.

More federal responders had been set to reach in the approaching days, the official mentioned. FEMA is working with Puerto Rico power distribution company Luma to revive power to the island, and has additionally introduced in mills. 

Luma tweeted Monday night time that it had restored power to about 200,000 prospects, together with a hospital. 

On Monday afternoon, President Biden shared a photo of himself talking by telephone with Pierluisi. 

“Today, I spoke with @GovPierluisi to address the immediate needs of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Fiona,” the president mentioned. “We discussed federal personnel working to assist the island’s recovery, and I assured the Governor that we’ll increase support substantially in the coming days.”

Before daybreak Monday, authorities in a ship navigated the flooded streets of the north coast city of Catano and used a megaphone to alert folks that the pumps had collapsed, urging them to evacuate as quickly as attainable.

Authorities mentioned at the very least 1,300 individuals spent the night time in shelters throughout the island.

Brown water poured into streets and properties and closed airports in Ponce and Mayaguez.

The system additionally ripped asphalt from roads and washed away a bridge in the central mountain city of Utuado that police mentioned was put in by the National Guard after Maria hit as a Category 4 storm.

Fiona additionally tore the roofs off properties, together with that of Nelson Cirino in the northern coastal city of Loiza.

“I was sleeping and saw when the corrugated metal flew off,” he mentioned as he watched rain drench his belongings and wind whip his colourful curtains into the air.

After roaring over the Dominican Republic, Fiona moved into the open Atlantic, the place it was projected to strengthen, based on the National Hurricane Center.

Fiona beforehand battered the japanese Caribbean, killing one man in the French territory of Guadeloupe when floodwaters washed his residence away, officers mentioned.

The system hit Puerto Rico on the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which slammed into the island in 1989 as a Category 3 storm.

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