Hurricane Fiona: 1,000 rescued as storm paralyzes Puerto Rico with flooding and power outages before hitting Dominican Republic

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Rescuers are working hard to save victims of flooding in Puerto Rico Hurricane Fiona It knocked out power to most of the island before crashing into the Dominican Republic.

Heavy rains are expected to continue causing landslides and catastrophic flooding, and emergency teams rescued about 1,000 people in Puerto Rico on Monday afternoon, said Maj. Gen. Jose Reyes, deputy general of the Puerto Rico National Guard.

One hundred first responders from New York will travel to the U.S. territory to help as soon as weather permits, Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluzzi said, while the governors of New Jersey and California have also pledged to send aid.

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

However, Puerto Rico remains almost entirely under a flash flood or flood warning — after nearly five years Hurricane Maria was devastating Territory.

An area north of Ponce received more than 2 feet of rain in 24 hours.

Rescue efforts were underway Monday in the western Puerto Rican municipalities of Mayaguez and Hormiguros, officials said. The Guanajibo River in Harmiguros surpassed its previous record high during Maria.

Meanwhile, southern Puerto Rico could expect another 4 to 6 inches of rain or more early this week — meaning Fiona will leave the island with 12 to 30 inches of rain, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

“These rainfall amounts will continue to produce life-threatening and catastrophic flooding with mudslides and landslides across Puerto Rico,” the hurricane center said.

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Fiona has already become deadly in the Caribbean. At least one death has been reported Basse-Terre is a heavily damaged citycapital of the French territory of Guadeloupe, said the vice president of the territory’s environmental organization.

Fiona is also likely to become a major hurricane by Wednesday Wind gusts up to 111 miles per hour. That would make Fiona the first major hurricane of the year in the Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center said.

More than 1.4 million Puerto Rico power customers, such as homes and businesses, lost power, officials said. The entire island was plunged into darkness on Monday morning. PowerOutage.us reported.

With daily high temperatures forecast to reach the mid-80s to upper 90s after Monday, it could take days before power is restored, Puerto Rico’s main power utility said Sunday.

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

Hurricane evacuees take shelter at a public school in Guanilla, Puerto Rico.

On Monday morning, there was good news from the island’s capital: power was restored to hospitals in San Juan’s medical complex, Puerto Rico Health Secretary Dr. Carlos Melloto López said. According to Puerto Rico’s Health Administration, the complex is the island’s largest and spans 227 acres.

“Power has been restored to all hospitals on the Medical Center campus,” Melloto tweeted Sunday night. “Our patients are safe and getting the medical care they need.”

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

Fiona may intensify as it moves across the Atlantic Ocean.

The hurricane struck the Dominican Republic community of Boca de Yuma early Monday morning with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane center said life-threatening flash floods and urban flooding were forecast for eastern parts of the Dominican Republic through early Tuesday.

Fiona could drop up to 12 inches of rain in eastern and northern parts of the country.

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

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the southeastern Bahamas late Monday or early Tuesday, and Fiona is expected to affect the eastern Turks and Caicos Tuesday morning.

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

Power outages have become a familiar crisis for many residents of Puerto Rico. Five months ago, residents of the area suffered Another island-wide blackout After a fire broke out at a power plant.

Parts of the island still bear Maria’s scars Caused catastrophic infrastructure damage; It took almost a year to restore power to the entire island.

Samuel Rivera and his mother, Lourdes Rodriguez, lived without power for about a year after Maria, Rivera told CNN. On Sunday morning, they lost power once again, and they imagined the same fear as five years ago.

They were also worried that the nearby river might flood and trees around their house could be uprooted by strong winds.

Easy flowing water Cleared a bridge, a video shows dangerous flooding taking its structure downstream. Elsewhere in the city of Arecibo, as the rain fell in sheets, fast-moving water overtook large construction vehicles and entire trees, another video by Samuel de Jesus showed.

Several rivers on the eastern side of the island remained in moderate flood as of Sunday afternoon, including one southeast river that rose more than 12 feet within seven hours.

US President Joe Biden early Sunday approved an emergency declaration to provide federal aid for disaster relief efforts.

More than 300 FEMA emergency personnel were on the ground responding to the crisis, said Anne Pink, FEMA’s associate administrator for response and recovery.

“Our hearts go out to the residents who are experiencing another catastrophic event five years later,” Pink said in a nod to Maria. This time, FEMA plans to apply lessons learned from the 2017 crisis, he said.

“We were more prepared. We now have four warehouses strategically located across the island, which include supplies, much larger deliveries than in the past,” Pink said.

“We’re serious — well in advance of any storm — to make sure we’re coordinating. All the planning efforts we put into those blue-sky days can hold up when it rains.

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