Hurricane Fiona: The storm becomes a Category 1 hurricane as it heads toward Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona: The storm becomes a Category 1 hurricane as it heads toward Puerto Rico
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The impacts of the storm have already been felt: at least one death has been reported in Basse-Terre in the French territory of Guadeloupe, according to vice president from the territory’s environmental agency, who said the capital had been devastated by flooding. And in Puerto Rico where more than 470,000 customers were without power as of noon ET Sunday, according to — Flash flooding began, the National Weather Service said.
The hurricane, the third of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season – is approaching Puerto Rico south of the city of Ponce, the hurricane center said. Winds are expected to pick up along the immediate coast, while conditions are forecast to deteriorate through the afternoon and evening on Sunday as Fiona moves near or over the southwestern part of Puerto Rico.

There is a possibility that the center of Fiona borders Puerto Rico, preventing a traditional “landfall”. But regardless, the impacts of the storm remain the same.

“Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours as Fiona moves near Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and over the southwestern Atlantic,” the hurricane center said. “Hurricane conditions are expected in Puerto Rico today, and are expected in parts of the eastern Dominican Republic tonight and Monday.”

Current forecast for Storm Fiona across the Atlantic.
The National Weather Service on Sunday warned of life-threatening catastrophic flooding, issuing flash flood warnings for southern and eastern Puerto Rico, including Ponce and Yabucoa, through at least mid-afternoon. The service said the flooding had started after 1 to 2 inches of rain had already fallen.

Very heavy rain of 12 to 16 inches is forecast across a wide swath of Puerto Rico, with most of the rain expected by Sunday, and isolated spots in southern and eastern Puerto Rico could see up to 25 inches, according to the hurricane center.

2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Basic Facts

The north and east of the Dominican Republic are also forecast to see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with isolated totals of up to 12 inches possible.

“These rains will produce life-threatening 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 said.

Authorities have already responded to one such landslide: Emergency officials responded Saturday night to a mudslide around 8 p.m. ET at an apartment complex in Guaynabo, according to firefighters and public safety officials. There were no initial reports of injuries.

Storm surge poses another threat and could raise water levels 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels along the southern coast of Puerto Rico and in the Dominican Republic, where onshore winds will be strongest. .

Rain accumulation forecast due to tropical storm Fiona.

A hurricane warning, indicating that hurricane conditions are expected, was issued for Puerto Rico, including the islands of Vieques and Culebra, and was later expanded to include the eastern Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Francés Viejo. The US Virgin Islands and the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, from Cabo Francés Viejo west to Puerto Plata, are under a hurricane watch on Sunday morning, which means hurricane conditions are possible in the next 48 hours.

President Joe Biden on Sunday morning approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, freeing up federal resources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for emergency response and disaster relief efforts.

The threat will not end once the storm passes between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Further strengthening is expected, and the official forecast track indicates that Fiona could be a major hurricane by Wednesday as it moves east of the Bahamas and toward Bermuda.

“Fiona appears likely to become the first major Atlantic hurricane of this season in a few days,” the hurricane center said.

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