An intensifying Hurricane Fiona is bringing heavy rain, high winds and power outages. to Puerto Rico. power has been knocked out to the whole island.
The last: The center of Fiona was heading toward the eastern Dominican Republic on Sunday night, but heavy rains and “catastrophic” flooding continued to batter much of Puerto Rico, according to the National Hurricane Center. cheep.
The panorama: The storm is dumping more than two feet of rain on Puerto Rico, “causing catastrophic flooding,” warns the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane winds have swept across the island fragile power grid.
- Fiona made landfall near Punta Tocón, on the southeast coast of the island, around 3:20 p.m. local time with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to an NHC. cheep.
- The storm has seen winds increase by 15 mph since the NHC update on then-Tropical Storm Fiona at 8 a.m. ET.
Getting closer: Fiona is a Category 1 hurricane and is expected to remain so until it makes landfall in Puerto Rico.
- Ponce, on the south side of the island, has seen sustained winds of 69 mph with a maximum wind gust of 103 mph, according to the Hurricane Center.
- President Biden has declared a federal disaster for Puerto Rico, mobilizing the delivery of aid to the island.
Threat level: The storm is likely to bring torrential rain to Puerto Rico through Monday, with a widespread area of 12 to 18 inches of rain expected. Higher amounts will fall in some places, particularly at higher elevations, where as much as 30 inches could fall in a short period of time.
- “These rains will produce life-threatening and catastrophic flash flooding and urban flooding in Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, along with landslides and landslides in areas of higher ground,” the Hurricane Center warned at 2 p.m. Sunday.
- Almost the entire island was under a flash flood warning as of 5:00 p.m. ET.
In the meantime, Heavy rains and hurricane force winds were expected in the eastern parts of the Dominican Republic for Sunday night and Monday.
- Puerto Rico’s power grid, which suffered severe damage during Hurricane Maria in 2017, has been weakened, with nearly 1.5 million customers without power as of 7 p.m. ET, according to Poweroutage.es.
What they are saying: “The damage we are seeing is catastrophic,” said Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said.
What we are seeing: The test for utility operators now will be how quickly they can restore power once the storm passes.
Of note: NOAA scientists managed to navigate a remotely operated “Sail Drone” into the eye of Hurricane Fiona, which helped validate their intensity estimate.
- Storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normally dry land is expected along Puerto Rico’s southern coast on Saturday, provided the peak surge arrives during high tide.
- The NWS in San Juan issued flash flood warnings throughout Sunday as the rains caused rivers and streams to swell. A social media video shows torrents of water washing away bridges, power lines and other infrastructure in southwestern Puerto Rico.
- The storm previously caused damaging flooding after dumping nearly 20 inches of rain on the French island of Guadeloupe late last week.
Whats Next: Fiona is expected to continue to intensify once it moves northwest of Puerto Rico and north of the Dominican Republic. The storm is expected to slowly turn north by mid-week as it moves near or over the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- The storm is expected to become the first “major” Atlantic hurricane of the season, reaching intensity of Category 3 or higher by midweek.
- Most computer models now put the storm out to sea east of the continental US, but it could be a threat to Bermuda by the end of the week.
Editor’s Note: This is breaking news. Please check for updates.
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