Hurricane Fiona brings power to Puerto Rico, brings ‘catastrophic’ flooding

Hurricane Fiona brings power to Puerto Rico, brings 'catastrophic' flooding
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Hurricane Fiona is intensifying, bringing heavy rain, strong winds and power outages to Puerto Rico. There was power was beaten to the whole island.

Latest: According to the National Hurricane Center, the center of Fiona was moving east of the Dominican Republic on Sunday evening, but heavy rain and “catastrophic” flooding continued to batter much of Puerto Rico. tweet.

Big picture: The National Hurricane Center is warning that the storm will drop more than two feet of rain in Puerto Rico and cause “catastrophic” flooding. Hurricane winds tore the island apart fragile power grid.

  • Fiona made landfall near Punta Tocon on the island’s southeast coast around 3:20 p.m. local time, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the NHC. tweet.
  • After the NHC upgraded Tropical Storm Fiona to Tropical Storm Fiona at 8 a.m. ET at that time, the storm increased to 15 mph.

Zoom in: Fiona is a Category 1 hurricane and is expected to remain a hurricane until it reaches Puerto Rico.

  • Ponce, on the south side of the island, saw sustained winds of 69 mph with maximum gusts of 103 mph, according to the Hurricane Center.
  • President Biden declared a federal disaster for Puerto Rico, mobilizing the delivery of aid to the island.
    Date: National Hurricane Center;  Map: Jared Whalen/Axios
Date: National Hurricane Center; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

Threat level: The storm was expected to bring downpours to Puerto Rico through Monday, with 12 to 18 inches expected across the area. Higher amounts will fall in some places, especially at higher elevations where up to 30 inches could fall in a short period of time.

  • “These rains will cause life-threatening and catastrophic flooding and urban flooding, landslides and mudslides in higher elevations across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic,” the Hurricane Center warned by 2 p.m. Sunday.
  • Almost the entire island was under a flood warning at 5:00 a.m. ET.

In the meantime, Heavy rains and hurricane-force winds were expected in the eastern parts of the Dominican Republic on Sunday and Monday night.

  • Puerto Rico’s power grid, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017, is down, leaving about 1.5 million customers without power as of 7:00 PM ET.

What they say: “The damage we’re seeing is catastrophic,” Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said.

What we’re looking at: The test for utility operators now will be how quickly they can restore power after the storm passes.

Note: NOAA scientists were able to fly a remotely piloted Sail Drone into the eye of Hurricane Fiona, which helped them assess its intensity.

  • A storm surge of 1 to 3 feet above normal land is expected along the south coast of Puerto Rico on Saturday, provided the peak surge occurs at high tide.
  • The NWS in San Juan issued a flash flood warning throughout Sunday as the rains caused rivers and creeks to rise. Video posted on social media shows floodwaters washing away bridges, power lines and other infrastructure in southwestern Puerto Rico.
  • The storm had earlier caused devastating flooding late last week after dumping nearly 20 inches of rain on the French island of Guadeloupe.

What’s next: Fiona is expected to strengthen as it moves northwest of Puerto Rico and north of the Dominican Republic. The storm is expected to slowly turn north by midweek as it moves near or over the Turks and Caicos Islands.

  • The storm is expected to become the season’s first “major” Atlantic hurricane of Category 3 or greater intensity by midweek.
  • Most computer models now have the storm out to sea east of the US mainland, but it could be a threat to Bermuda later in the week.

Editor’s note: This is breaking news. Please check for updates.

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