A government agency said that the entire island of Puerto Rico was without power on Sunday as Hurricane Fiona made landfall and threatened to cause “catastrophic flooding” and landslides before barreling toward the Dominican Republic.
With maximum sustained winds of around 85 miles per hour (140 kilometers per hour), the storm’s core made landfall on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico close to Punta Tocon at 3:20 p.m. ET (1920 GMT), passing the threshold for a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.
According to LUMA Energy, the island’s grid operator and the Puerto Rico power authority, electricity exceeded the 3.3 million-person island.
It can take many days to restore electricity, according to LUMA completely.
Ports in Puerto Rico have been shut down, and flights out of the significant airport have been canceled.
The Dominican Republic was also expected to see torrential rainfall and mudslides as the storm moved northwest.
At the same time, the Turks and Caicos Islands were likely to experience tropical storm conditions on Tuesday, according to the NHC.
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These rains may cause deadly and catastrophic flash floods, urban flooding, mudslides, and landslides in parts of higher terrain across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, “the agency said.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide emergency protection measures for Puerto Rico.
Residents said that heavy wind gusts and rain had intensified since Sunday morning.
Denise Rios, who lives in the town of Hormigueros in the southwest. Reported losing power due to a significant wind gust and rain that started at midday.
Since then, it has continued, “She spoke. Both the wind and the rain are coming down severely. I’m aware yet also serene.”
The NHC predicted that a large portion of Puerto Rico will get 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) of rain. While some areas might receive up to 25 inches (63.5 cm).
After Hurricane Maria produced the worst blackout in American history in September 2017, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure is still precarious. During the Category 5 hurricane, 80% of the power cables were destroyed, leaving 1.5 million consumers without energy.
Authorities have shuttered beaches and casinos, organized more than 100 shelters, and advised locals to take refuge.
One fatality associated with Fiona has been documented so far; it occurred on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
Authorities said one individual died on Saturday after floodwaters washed away his home.
President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that France would declare Guadeloupe to be in a state of natural disaster.