Hurricane Fiona: Landing in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona: Landing in Puerto Rico
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According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Fiona made landfall along Puerto Rico’s extreme southwest coast near Punta Tocon at 3:20 p.m. ET with winds of 85 mph.

[Previous story, published at 3:09 p.m. ET]

Power went out in the entire U.S. region of Puerto Rico on Sunday. According to PowerOutage.usHurricane Fiona is pressing on islands already grappling with the threat of flooding and mudslides from a Category 1 storm.

“Puerto Rico is 100% without power due to a transmission grid failure caused by Hurricane Fiona,” it said on its website.

Government Pedro Pierluisi confirmed the outage in a tweet, noting that the entire electrical system was out of service and authorities had activated the appropriate protocols to restore power.

blackout — which It came five years after Puerto Rico’s power grid was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017 – after hours of and worsening power outages – and many residents were left without power for months. But officials stressed it won’t be like last time: Shortly before the lights went out, utility officials planned to repair and restore it, said Abner Gomez, head of public safety and crisis management at LUMA Energy, which operates Puerto Rico’s power grid. electricity with the help of local government agencies.

“This is not Maria, this is not hurricane Maria,” Gomez said.

Fiona continued to strengthen Sunday and is currently packing sustained winds of 85 mph, at which point the storm was about 25 miles southwest of the city of Ponce, according to the National Hurricane Center’s update at 2 a.m. ET.

The effects of the storm have already been felt: at least one death has been reported in Basse-Terre in the French region of Guadeloupe. according to the vice president From the region’s environmental agency, who said the capital was devastated by flooding. And Porto RicoThe floods have already begun.

Pierluisi warned at a press conference on Sunday that the storm would “encompass our entire island”, noting that bands of wind and rain from the storm could extend outward by as much as 100 to 120 miles. “This is affecting us now,” Pierluisi said. “South of Puerto Rico but very close to our beach.”

Hurricane – the third 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season – It’s heading towards Puerto Rico with the eyewall approaching the south coast, according to the National Weather Service’s office in San Juan. The hurricane center said winds are expected to increase immediately along the coastline, with conditions expected to worsen as Fiona moves near or over the southwestern part of Puerto Rico Sunday afternoon and evening.
The evacuees are seen in a classroom of a public school used as a shelter in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, on Sunday as Hurricane Fiona and heavy rains approached.

There is a possibility that Fiona’s center is on the outskirts of Puerto Rico, avoiding a traditional “land fall.” But whatever happens, the effects of the storm remain the same.

“Additional strengthening is expected in the next 48 hours as Fiona moves over Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the southwestern Atlantic,” the hurricane center said. Said. “Hurricane conditions are expected in Puerto Rico today and parts of the East Dominican Republic tonight and Monday.”

The National Weather Service on Sunday It issued flash flood warnings for at least this afternoon for southern and eastern Puerto Rico, including Ponce and Yabucoa, warning of life-threatening flooding. The service said the flooding began after an estimated 1 to 4 inches of rain fell.

Very heavy rainfall between 12 and 16 inches is expected over a large part of Puerto Rico, most of the rain is expected on Sunday, and isolated areas in southern and eastern Puerto Rico could see up to 25 inches per hurricane center.

Fiona's current forecast storm is across the Atlantic.

The northern and eastern Dominican Republic are also expected to see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with up to 12 inches of isolation in total.

“These rains will produce mudslides and landslides in higher terrain, along with life-threatening flash flooding and urban flooding across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic,” the hurricane center said. Said.

Officials have already responded to such a landslide: Emergency officials responded to the 8pm ET on Saturday evening at an apartment complex in Guaynabo. According to fire and public safety officials. There were no initial reports of injuries.

Pierluisi said Puerto Rican authorities continue to closely monitor the mountainous areas of the island, which have experienced landslides in the past and where the soil is saturated with rain.

The governor said that about 120 shelters with 25,000 cots have been opened for the needy. Classes were canceled on Monday, and government employees, except emergency workers, must stay at home.

Estimated precipitation accumulations due to Tropical Storm Fiona.

A hurricane warning was issued indicating hurricane conditions were expected for Puerto Rico, including the islands of Vieques and Culebra, and was later extended to include the eastern Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Frances Viejo. The north coast of the Dominican Republic, from west of Cabo Frances Viejo to Puerto Plata, was under a hurricane watch Sunday morning, which means hurricane conditions are possible in the next 48 hours.

President Joe Biden approved an emergency statement for Puerto Rico on Sunday morning freeing up federal resources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for emergency response and disaster relief efforts.

The threat will not end once the storm passes between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It’s expected to get stronger, and the official forecast track suggests it could be a major hurricane by Wednesday as Fiona heads east of the Bahamas and into Bermuda.

“Fiona looks likely to be the first major hurricane of this Atlantic season in a few days,” the hurricane center said. Said.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam contributed to this report.

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