Tags: hurricane fiona | dominican republic | puerto rico

Hurricane Fiona Slams Dominican Republic After Zapping Puerto Rico

a cyclist fighting the winds of hurricane fiona
Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Monday, 19 September 2022 11:15 AM EDT

Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Monday and Puerto Rico braced for another day of heavy rainfall and life-threatening flooding, a U.S. government agency said, one day after the island was hit by a widespread power outage.

The Dominican Republic is being battered with "extremely heavy rainfall" and winds as strong as 90 miles per hour, Eric Blake of the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, as storm conditions in Puerto Rico begin to subside.

Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon, five years after the U.S. Caribbean territory was ravaged by Hurricane Maria.

"Tomorrow will be dryer than today, but it will be a long day today," said Blake, acting branch chief of the NHC's hurricane specialist unit, referring to Puerto Rico. "The strongest winds are already dying down and it's already over the Dominican Republic."

Puerto Rico's power grid remains fragile despite emergency repairs after Hurricane Maria in September 2017 caused the largest blackout in U.S. history, according to the Puerto Rican think tank Center for a New Economy.

In that Category 5 storm, which killed more than 3,000 people, 1.5 million customers lost electricity with 80% of power lines knocked out. Thousands of Puerto Ricans still live under makeshift tarpaulin roofs.

The eye of Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic near Boca Yuma at 3:30 a.m. local time, the NHC said. It is the first hurricane to score a direct hit on the country since Jeanne left severe damage in the east of the country in September 2018. The Dominican Republic shares the Caribbean island of Hispanola with Haiti.

Fiona brought down trees, power lines and advertisements in the towns of Punta Cana, La Romana and El Seibo in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic during the early hours of Monday. Relief groups said there were no immediate reports of injuries.

Juan Salas, director of the country's Office of Civil Defense, indicated that about 800 people were evacuated from high-risk areas and near rivers and ravines in rural communities in the east.

Juan Manuel Méndez, director of the Dominican Emergency Operations Center, warned that rains may persist for two days, even as the eye of the hurricane moves away from Dominican territory later Monday.

Nearly 90% of Puerto Rico remained without power on Monday, according to Poweroutage.us. Officials said it would take days to reconnect the island of 3.3 million people.

Rain could follow the storm system on the east side of Puerto Rico for hundreds of miles, NHC's Blake said. The National Weather Service lifted its hurricane warning for the U.S. territory on Monday morning.

Even so, authorities advised residents, particularly in the southern and western parts of the island, to seek higher ground as some areas could experience as much as 10 inches of rainfall.

U.S. President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief and provide emergency protective measures.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


GlobalTalk
Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Monday and Puerto Rico braced for another day of heavy rainfall and life-threatening flooding, a U.S. government agency said, one day after the island was hit by a widespread power outage.
hurricane fiona, dominican republic, puerto rico
495
2022-15-19
Monday, 19 September 2022 11:15 AM
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