Hurricane Fiona became more powerful on Tuesday as it moved past Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic after intensifying the islands with up to 30 inches of rain, causing heavy flooding, landslides and ruining most of the island.
More than 80% of Puerto Rico remained without power on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after the storm shut down the entire electrical system. Officials said water service was cut for more than 837,000 customers – two-thirds of the total on the island.
In the Dominican Republic, more than one million people were without running water and 700,000 homes and businesses were without electricity, the National Emergency Operations Center said.
There were at least three deaths, two in Puerto Rico and one in the Dominican Republic.
Images:Hurricane Fiona floods homes, streets in Puerto Rico
how to help:A Look at Mutual Aid, Nonprofits to Help Puerto Ricans
IMore rain was predicted during the week, And conditions were not expected to improve significantly. “Rain from Hurricane Fiona is likely to cause a devastating and deadly flash, urban and moderate to major river flooding, as well as mudslides for southern and eastern Puerto Rico through Tuesday,” the National Weather Service warned.
IThousands displaced in Puerto Rico: Officials said at least 2,300 people and some 250 pets remained in shelters across the island.
Iin Grand Turk, Hurricane conditions were slamming the capital of the small British territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee the flood-affected areas.
IThreat to the US mainland? Forecasters say the storm is not expected to threaten the United States.
Here’s what we know:
Hurricane Fiona strengthens to Category 3 hurricane
Fiona, which strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane overnight, is forecast to intensify during the next few days, the Weather Service says:
- Centered near Grand Turk Island: Fiona, with sustained winds of 115 mph, was moving to the north-northwest near 9 mph and was centered about 40 miles north of Grand Turk Island.
- Turks and Caicos: Hurricane conditions were forming over Turks and Caicos and should remain until this morning. The National Weather Service said heavy rains would continue through this afternoon and remain life-threatening.
- In Bahamas: Tropical storm status should extend into parts of the southeastern Bahamas during the day.
More than 1,000 residents of the Dominican Republic were living in shelters on Tuesday when Fiona tore through the country. The National Emergency Operations Center said more than 1 million of the country’s nearly 12 million people were without water, and more than 700,000 homes and businesses had no electricity.
One death was reported, 12,485 people were displaced, 3,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and four bridges collapsed.
The director of the organization, Juan Manuel Mendez, told dominican today That 68-year-old Isidro Odalis Smith was crushed by a fallen tree in the northern city of Nagua, in the province of María Trinidad Sánchez.
President Luis Abinedar pledged to restore drinking water and electrical service to affected communities “as soon as possible.” He said officials would need several days to assess the effects of the storm.
Authorities closed ports and beaches and told most people to stay home from work. The storm blocked several highways, and a tourist pier in the city of Michees was badly damaged by high waves. At least four international airports have been closed, officials said.
How you can help
Activists stress the importance of supporting local organizations and grassroots mutual aid groups that are providing grassroots relief to fellow community members in Puerto Rico. Several organizations are providing vital support for residents – including solar lights, generators, essential supplies and food.
To help Puerto Ricans and other people in the Caribbean recover from the ongoing effects of Hurricane Fiona, here’s one List of some nonprofits and mutual aid funds you can support.
The Weather Service warned that most parts of Puerto Rico would receive 1 to 4 inches of rain on Wednesday morning. Storm totals have reached 12 to 20 inches in most areas, but up to 35 inches have been seen in some places.
“Localized additional flash and urban flooding are possible in the southern parts of Puerto Rico,” the weather service said.
The storm made landfall on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane. Fiona again made landfall on the east coast of the Dominican early Monday.
In hard-hit Salinas, a municipality of about 30,000 people on Puerto Rico’s southern coast, Mayor Caroline Bonilla estimated that 2,500 saw their homes submerged. The National Guard led a team of respondents that saved more than 500 waters, and Bonilla expressed gratitude for the efforts to save lives “those who put themselves at risk.”
“We had to conduct a titanic operation to rescue people who were in completely flooded areas,” Bonilla said. “The refugees tell us that they have been living in certain communities for 60 years and that an event of this magnitude had never happened.”
Minerva Monge, 70, was rescued along with her husband by the National Guard when the water in their house reached their knees.
“I hope everything calms down, the place dries up and we can come back,” she said.
AccuWeather Fiona is estimated to have an economic impact of about $10 billion on the island. President Joe Biden, who previously declared a state of emergency to release federal aid to Puerto Rico, said he spoke with Governor Pedro Pierlusi late Monday. Biden promised to increase support “substantially” in the coming days.
“Jill and I are keeping the people of Puerto Rico in our prayers as Hurricane Fiona passes over your beautiful island,” Biden tweeted. “We are here for you, and we will get through this together.”
Fiona slammed Puerto Rico nearly five years after Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane with wind speeds exceeding 170 mph, slammed across the island.
Maria’s death toll reached nearly 3,000 people, destroying power grids and destroying thousands of homes – thousands of which are covered with wires.
The destruction done across the island included a bridge in the Puerto Rican city of Utuado that was built after Hurricane Maria. The bridge over the Guaonica River in the Central Mountains was destroyed on Sunday, the same day that Fiona made landfall on the island.
US House Delegate Roberto LeFranc Fortuno posted video The bridge, known as PR-123, breaks apart. People can be heard shouting amid the loud rumble of metal as a man lays his hand on his head in disbelief.
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Contribution: The Associated Press