The Category 1 hurricane made landfall near Boca de Yuma at 3:30 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As the storm slowly moves northwest, torrential rain is still falling in Puerto Rico, where more than 1.4 million people are without power.
Fiona will continue to hit Puerto Rico and eastern parts of the Dominican Republic until Monday. According to the hurricane center, the eastern parts of the Dominican Republic could also see flash floods and mudslides in high areas in addition to flooding. Fiona could bring as much as 30 inches of rain to Puerto Rico and up to 12 inches to the eastern and northern Dominican Republic.
LUMA Energy, Puerto Rico’s main electric utility, said in a statement Sunday that it could be days before power is restored, adding that “several transmission line outages” were contributing to the outage. Governor Pedro Pierluisi wrote on Facebook that the process will be implemented “gradually”.
Samuel Rivera and his mother, Lourdes Rodriguez, lived without electricity for nearly a year after Maria Rivera was shot, CNN’s Layla Santiago told CNN. On Sunday morning, they lost power again, creating similar scares as they did five years ago.
They also expressed concern that the nearby river would flood and trees surrounding their homes could be felled by strong winds.
Life-threatening flood tears in Puerto Rico
As Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sunday, much of Puerto Rico was under a flash flood warning ahead of heavy downpours. The National Weather Service in San Juan warned of “catastrophic” and life-threatening flood conditions.
Many rivers on the east side of the island were in moderate to major flood stages as of Sunday afternoon, including one southeast river that rose above 12 feet in less than 7 hours. The National Weather Service also issued a flash flood warning for south central Puerto Rico on Sunday night.
In response to the risk facing Puerto Rico, President Joe Biden approved a state of emergency declaration Sunday morning to provide federal aid to disaster relief efforts.
Anne Bink, the agency’s assistant administrator for Response and Recovery, told CNN that more than 300 FEMA emergency workers were on the ground responding to the crisis.
“Our hearts go out to residents who, five years later, are experiencing yet another catastrophic event,” Bink said, marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria. According to him, this time FEMA plans to implement the lessons learned from the 2017 crisis.
“We were more prepared. We now have four warehouses strategically located all over the island that contain goods, exponentially larger supplies than in the past,” he said.
“We’re proactively out there to make sure we’re coordinating — and well ahead of any storm. And all the planning efforts we put in on those blue-sky days can pay off when the rain comes.”
CNN’s Leila Santiago, Jamiel Lynch, Alfonso Serrano, Caitlin Kaiser, Allie Malloy, Haley Brink, Dakin Andone and Robert Shackelford contributed to this report.
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