Hurricane Fiona nears Dominican Republic after inflicting “catastrophic” harm, “historic” flooding in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona bore down on the Dominican Republic early Monday after knocking out the ability grid and unleashing floods and landslides in Puerto Rico, whose governor known as the harm “catastrophic.”

No deaths have been reported, however authorities within the U.S. territory mentioned it was too early to estimate the harm from a storm that was nonetheless forecast to unleash torrential rain throughout the island on Monday.

As much as 30 inches was forecast for Puerto Rico’s jap and southern areas.

“It is necessary individuals perceive that this isn’t over,” mentioned Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the Nationwide Climate Service in San Juan.

He mentioned flooding has reached “historic ranges,” with authorities evacuating or rescuing tons of of individuals throughout the island.

“The damages that we’re seeing are catastrophic,” mentioned Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.

Puerto Rico Tropical Weather
A street is blocked by a mudslide attributable to Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 18, 2022.

Stephanie Rojas / AP

Brown water rushed by way of streets, into houses and even consumed a runway airport in southern Puerto Rico.

Fiona ripped up asphalt from roads and washed away a bridge within the central mountain city of Utuado that police say was put in by the Nationwide Guard after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017 as a Class 4 storm.

The storm additionally ripped off the roofs of a number of houses, together with that of Nelson Cirino within the northern coastal city of Loiza.

“I used to be sleeping and noticed when the corrugated steel flew off,” he mentioned as he noticed how the rain drenched his belongings.

Deanne Criswell, director of the Federal Emergency Administration Company, mentioned in a press release to CBS Information Sunday night time that the company was “actively supporting” Puerto Rico and “instantly deployed tons of of FEMA personnel earlier than the storm made landfall.”

“Our focus proper now could be on life-saving efforts and response to rapid wants equivalent to energy restoration,” Criswell mentioned. 

Fiona was centered 25 miles south of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic early Monday with most sustained winds of 85 mph, in response to the U.S. Nationwide Hurricane Heart. It was shifting to the west-northwest at 9 mph.

It hit on the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which slammed into the island in 1989 as a Class 3 storm.

As authorities proceed to evaluate the harm from Fiona, many puzzled when energy could be restored.

“That is in all probability the worst harm there may be,” mentioned Tomás Rivera, who co-owns a resort within the southwest coastal city of El Combate.

President Biden declared a state of emergency within the U.S. territory as the attention of the storm approached.

The blackout induced Maria was blamed for the deaths of practically 3,000 individuals within the storm’s sweltering aftermath. Energy in some neighborhoods wasn’t restored till a yr later.

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