At least 2 dead in Puerto Rico after ‘incredible’ Hurricane Fiona | Meteorology

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At least two people have died in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Fiona, Governor Pedro Pierluisi told CNN, as rescuers rushed to rescue flood victims.

According to Press Secretary Sheila Angleró-Mojica.

The storm knocked out power to most of the island before crashing into the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Ricans who remember the wrath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 say Fiona could be more destructive.

“It’s amazing,” said San Juan business owner Juan Miguel Gonzalez.

“A lot of people — more than (during) Maria — have lost their homes now… lost everything in their homes to the flooding,” Gonzalez told CNN’s Leyla Santiago.

“Maria had high winds. But this one, along with all the rain, destroyed everything in the house.”

By noon Monday, about 1,000 people in Puerto Rico had been rescued by emergency teams, said Maj. Gen. José Reyes, adjutant general of the Puerto Rico National Guard.

Intense rains were expected to produce more mudslides and catastrophic flooding through Monday evening.

About 100 first responders from New York will travel to the United States to help as soon as weather permits, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said, adding that the governors of New Jersey and California have also pledged to send ugly.

Fiona made landfall Monday morning in the Dominican Republic after crossing land a day earlier in southwestern Puerto Rico.

Yet Puerto Rico remains almost entirely under flash floods or flood warnings — nearly five years to the day after Hurricane Maria devastated the territory.

An area north of the town of Ponce reported more than 2 feet of rain in 24 hours.

Rescues were underway Monday in the western Puerto Rican municipalities of Mayaguez and Hormigueros, officials said. The Guanajibo River in Hormigueros surpassed its previous height record set during Maria.

Meanwhile, southern Puerto Rico can expect another 4 to 8 inches of rain or more early this week – meaning Fiona will leave the island awash with 12 to 30 inches of rain, the report said. National Hurricane Center based in Miami.

“These rains will continue to produce life-threatening and catastrophic flooding as well as mudslides and landslides across Puerto Rico,” the center said.

Fiona has already become deadly in the Caribbean. At least one death has been reported in town of Basse-Terre heavily damagedthe capital of the French territory of Guadeloupe, said the vice-president of the territory’s environmental agency.

And Fiona could become a major hurricane by Wednesday, with winds reaching 111 mph. That would make Fiona the first major Atlantic hurricane of the year, the National Hurricane Center said.

Massive power cuts cripple Puerto Rico

More than 1.4 million Puerto Rico’s electricity consumers — such as homes and businesses — lost power, officials said. The entire island was in the dark early Monday, PowerOutage.us reported.

And it could be days before power is restored, Puerto Rico’s main electric utility said Sunday, as daily high temperatures after Monday are expected to hit the mid-80s to 90s.

Several transmission line outages contributed to the blackout, LUMA Energy said. Power will be restored “gradually,” Pierluisi said in a Facebook post.

Late Monday morning, good news from the capital of the island: the electrical system has returned for the hospitals of the medical complex of San Juan, said the Secretary of Health of Puerto Rico, Dr. Carlos Mellado López. The complex is the largest on the island and spans 227 acres, according to the Puerto Rico Health Administration.

“The electrical system of all hospitals in the medical center complex has been restored,” Mellado tweeted on Sunday evening. “Our patients are safe and getting the medical care they need.”

Fiona’s last path

Intense rains will continue to produce catastrophic mudslides, landslides and flooding across Puerto Rico through Monday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane hit the Dominican community of Boca de Yuma early Monday, bringing maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm knocked out 59 aqueducts, leaving more than a million people in the Dominican Republic without running water, according to Jose Luis German Mejia, an emergency management official. At least 54 homes have been reported damaged so far, said Juan Manuel Mendez, the country’s director of emergency management operations.

Emergency officials transported 789 people to safety, Mendez said during a storm briefing on Monday. More than 500 people are housed in 29 shelters, he said.

Ten electrical circuits are currently offline, but officials did not have the exact number of customers without power.

“It is still an emergency event,” and the storm is still affecting the country, Mejia said.

Flash flooding and life-threatening urban flooding are forecast for eastern parts of the Dominican Republic through Tuesday morning, the hurricane center said.

Fiona could also dump 10 inches of rain across the east and north of the country, the center said.

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As Fiona moves away from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, it is expected to intensify as it moves north over warm waters.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the southeast Bahamas by late Monday or early Tuesday, with Fiona expected to impact the eastern Turks and Caicos Islands Tuesday morning.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands, the National Hurricane Center announced late Monday.

“Fiona will continue to track north then northeast this week, approaching Bermuda on Friday like a major hurricane,” CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

Yet another widespread calamity

Power outages have become a familiar crisis for many Puerto Ricans. Just five months ago, residents suffered another island-wide blackout after a fire broke out at a power station.

Parts of the island still bear the scars of Maria, who inflicted catastrophic damage to infrastructure; it took nearly a year for power to be restored to the entire island.

Samuel Rivera and his mother Lourdes Rodriguez lived without electricity for about a year after Maria, Rivera told CNN. On Sunday morning, they lost power again, evoking similar fears to those they had five years ago.

They were also worried that a nearby river could overflow and the trees surrounding their home could be knocked down by the strong winds, they said.

Stormy waters easily wiped away a bridge, dragging its structure downstream, video of the dangerous flooding shows. Elsewhere in the city of Arecibo, fast-moving water overtook large construction vehicles and entire trees as rain fell in sheets, another video by Samuel De Jesús shows.

Many rivers on the east side of the island were at moderate to major flood levels Sunday afternoon, including a southeast river that rose more than 12 feet in less than seven hours.

US President Joe Biden on Sunday morning approved an emergency declaration to provide federal assistance for disaster relief efforts.

More than 300 FEMA rescue workers were on the ground responding to the crisis, said Anne Bink, FEMA associate administrator for response and recovery.

“Our hearts go out to the residents who are going through yet another catastrophic event five years later,” Bink said, nodding to Maria. This time, she said, FEMA plans to implement lessons learned from the 2017 crisis.

“We were much better prepared. We have four warehouses now strategically located across the island, which include commodity, exponentially larger supplies than in the past,” Bink said.

“We’re there proactively – and well in advance of any storm – to make sure we coordinate. And all the planning efforts we put in during those blue sky days can be put to good use when the rain comes down.”

Biden told Governor Pierluisi on a Tuesday call that he would “ensure the federal team stays on the job to do this, especially as Puerto Rico is still recovering from the damage from Hurricane Maria there.” turns five this week,” a reading of the appeal said.

The-CNN-Wire

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