Puerto Rico Coming Under Hurricane Warning as Tropical Storm Fiona

Tropical Storm Fiona is heading toward Puerto Rico on Saturday prophet warning It could turn into a typhoon before hitting Sunday and there are chances of landslides, severe flooding and power outages with extremely heavy rain.

The storm had already devastated several eastern Caribbean islands, with one death in the French territory of Guadeloupe. Regional chief Alexandre Rochte said the body was found on the side of the road after a house was washed away in the capital Basse-Terre. More than 20 people were rescued amid heavy wind and rain that left 13,000 customers out of power, storms tore down roads, downed trees and destroyed at least one bridge.

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Fiona in the Caribbean on September 17, 2022.
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Fiona in the Caribbean on September 17, 2022.

AP. via NOAA

Fiona was centered about 75 miles south of St. Croix on Saturday evening, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. It was moving to the west at 8 mph, forecast to pass near or over Puerto Rico on Sunday night. Fiona was expected to become a hurricane before reaching the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

“We are already starting to feel its effects,” Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierlusi said at a news conference, in which the lights went out briefly, causing groans and laughter across the island. “We must not underestimate this storm.”

Officials said potentially heavy rains would be dangerous as the island’s soil is already saturated.

“We are not saying the winds are not dangerous, but we are preparing for a historic event in terms of rain,” said Ernesto Morales, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in San Juan.

Puerto Rico Tropical Weather
Residents apply protective plywood to a window of their home to prepare for the arrival of Tropical Storm Fiona in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Saturday, September 17, 2022. Fiona was expected to become a hurricane near Puerto Rico on Saturday, threatening to cause people to dump up to 20 inches (51 cm) of rain, causing possible landslides, severe flooding and power outages.

Alejandro Granadillo / AP

Many Puerto Ricans are concerned about severe power outages Since the reconstruction of the island’s power grid Hurricane Maria only started recently, in 2017. The grid remains weak and there are frequent power outages.

Luma, the company that operates electricity transmission and distribution on the island, said it flew in an additional 100 lineworkers before the storm, but warned of a “significant” outage over the weekend.

Fiona was forecast to swipe the Dominican Republic and then Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands as a potential hurricane on Monday, with the threat of extreme rain.

The forecaster posted a Hurricane Watch for the US Virgin Islands as well as the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Angano westward to Cabo Casedo, and westward from Cabo Angano to Puerto Plata for the north coast.

In Puerto Rico, officials opened shelters and closed public beaches, casinos, theaters and museums as they urged people to stay indoors. Authorities also relocated hundreds of endangered Puerto Rican parrots to their shelter.

“It’s time to activate and contact your emergency plan and help your relatives, especially older adults who live alone,” said Dr. Gloria Amador, who runs a non-profit health organization in central Puerto Rico.

The governor said an elderly man died shortly after arriving at a shelter in the small island of Culebra, east of Puerto Rico. He said the man was living in poor conditions and the mayor was trying to relocate him, describing it as a “quite unfortunate incident”.

Pierlucci said a $550 million emergency fund to deal with the aftermath of the storm was available with enough food to feed 200,000 people three times a day for 20 days.

At least one cruise ship trip and several flights to the island were canceled, while officials on the eastern Caribbean islands canceled schools and forbade people from practicing aquatic sports as Fiona battered the area. Had given.

Over Guadeloupe, officials said they recorded gusts of up to 74 mph. He also said that the Gros Morne area received nine inches of rain in three hours.

Fiona, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was predicted to receive 5 to 10 inches of rain in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 20 inches of rain in isolated places. 4 to 8 inches of rain have been forecast in the Dominican Republic, with up to 12 inches of rain. Forecasters said life-threatening surf was also possible from Fiona’s winds.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lester dissipated in the eastern Pacific after reaching the southwest coast of Mexico on Saturday afternoon, south of Acapulco.

The Hurricane Center said the remnants of Lester could still fall from 8 to 12 inches of rain off the coasts of Upper Guerrero State and Michoacan State, with isolated areas up to 16 inches.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Madeline formed deep in the Pacific, but forecasters predicted it would pose no threat to land as it moved over the ocean.

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