, 2022-09-18 17:41:15,
Hurricane Fiona made landfall Sunday in southwestern Puerto Rico, shortly after the entire island lost power as it got battered nearly five years to the day after blockbuster Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory.
Fiona, a Category 1 storm, reached Puerto Rico at 3:20 p.m. EDT, bringing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. The system is expected to unleash historic rainfall of up to 30 inches, widespread flooding, and dangerous mudslides, forecasters said.
“The damages that we are seeing are catastrophic,” Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said.
In the central mountain town of Utuado, the storm washed away a bridge that police say was installed by the National Guard after Hurricane Maria hit on Sept. 20, 2017.
Luma, the company that operates power transmission and distribution, said fierce winds disrupted transmission lines, leading to “a blackout on all the island.” Fully restoring power could take several days, Luma said.
President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on the territory, home to 3.2 million people, the vast majority American citizens.
Hurricane Fiona’s projected path
The eye of Fiona was heading toward the eastern part of the Dominican Republic, the hurricane center said in its 5 p.m. EDT advisory, and was expected to roar near the country’s northern coast Monday before turning toward the east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.
“Torrential rains and mudslides are expected across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic,” the center said.
After its path through the Caribbean and Bahamas, Fiona could move on a track toward Bermuda, Accuweather said. Hurricane warnings were in effect Sunday for Puerto Rico and parts of the Dominican Republic.
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How much rain is expected?
Fiona was expected to drop 12 to 16 inches of rain over eastern and southern Puerto Rico, and as much as 25 inches in isolated spots, forecasters said.
The storm could pound cities and towns along the southern coast that are still recovering from a series of powerful earthquakes that struck in 2019.
“These rains will produce life-threatening flash flooding and urban flooding across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, along with mudslides and landslides in areas of higher terrain,” the hurricane center warned.
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What was the storm…
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