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Hurricane Fiona blasts the Turks and Caicos Islands into a ‘deadly’ Category 3 storm


Hurricane Fiona causes massive destruction in the Caribbean


Hurricane Fiona causes massive destruction in the Caribbean

03:27

Hurricane Fiona blasted through the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as a Category 3 storm after devastating Porto Rico, where most people remained without electricity or running water. Hurricane conditions hit Grand Turk, the capital island of the small British territory, on Tuesday morning after the government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas.

On Tuesday evening, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the storm was centered about 50 miles north of North Caicos Island, with hurricane-force winds extending up to 35 miles from the center and winds of tropical storm force extending out to 150 miles. The storm was moving in a north-northwest direction at around 8 mph.

The Turks and Caicos Islands will continue to see “heavy rain” throughout the evening with “life-threatening flooding”, the NHC said.

Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic could see another 1 to 2 inches of rain from Fiona, the NHC predicted, which could lead to even more flooding. In total, parts of Puerto Rico could receive up to 35 inches of rain from the storm, while parts of the Dominican Republic could see 20 inches.

Fiona was expected to approach Bermuda on Thursday evening, the NHC said, and is expected to strengthen over the next few days.

“Storms are unpredictable,” Prime Minister Washington Misick said in a statement from London, where he was attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. “You must therefore take every precaution to ensure your safety.”

Hurricane Fiona in the Dominican Republic
A man wades through a flooded street in Nagua, Dominican Republic, September 19, 2022, after Hurricane Fiona hit.

ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/AFP/Getty Images


Fiona was expected to weaken before colliding in far eastern Canada over the weekend. We did not expect it to threaten the American continent.

Fiona triggered a power outage when it hit the southwest corner of Puerto Rico on Sunday, the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which hit the island in 1989 as a Category 3 storm.

On Tuesday morning, authorities said they had restored power to nearly 300,000 of the island’s 1.47 million customers. Puerto Rico’s governor has warned it could take days before everyone has power.

Water service has been cut to more than 760,000 customers – two-thirds of the total on the island – due to cloudy water at filter plants or lack of power, officials said.

Storm was responsible for at least two deaths in Puerto Rico. A 58-year-old man died after police said he was swept away by a river in the central mountain town of Comerio. Another death was linked to a power outage – a 70-year-old man was burned to death after trying to fill his generator with gasoline while it was running, officials said.

In the Dominican Republic, authorities also reported two deaths: a 68-year-old man struck by a falling tree and an 18-year-old girl who was struck by a falling utility pole while driving a motorbike. The storm forced more than 1,550 people to seek shelter in government shelters and left more than 406,500 homes without power.

The hurricane blocked several highways and a tourist pier in the town of Miches was badly damaged by high waves. At least four international airports have been closed, officials said.

Dominican President Luis Abinader said authorities would need several days to assess the effects of the storm.

In the mountain town of Cayey in central Puerto Rico, where the Plato River overflowed and the torrent of brown water consumed cars and homes, overturned dressers, beds and large refrigerators littered the yards of people Tuesday.

“Puerto Rico is not prepared for this, or anything,” said Mariangy Hernández, a 48-year-old housewife, who said she doubted the government would help her community of some 300 residents term, despite ongoing efforts to clean up the streets and restore power. “It’s only for a few days and later they forget about us.”

She and her husband stood in line waiting for the National Guard to clear a landslide in their hilly neighborhood.

“Is it open?” Is it open? asked a driver, worried that the road had been completely closed.

Other drivers asked the National Guard if they could drive past their homes to help cut down trees or clear clumps of mud and debris.


Hurricane Fiona hits Puerto Rico, leaving most of the island without power or clean water

05:07

Michelle Carlo, medical adviser for Direct Relief in Puerto Rico, told CBS News on Tuesday that conditions on the island were “eerily similar” to 2017, when Hurricane Maria cause nearly 3,000 dead.

“Even though Fiona is only listed as a Category 1 hurricane, the water damage in Puerto Rico was in some places as bad or even worse than when Maria hit us five years ago,” he said. said Carlos.

Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island are still covered with blue tarpaulins.

Brigadier of the National Guard. General Narciso Cruz called the resulting flooding historic.

“There were communities that were flooded by the storm that weren’t flooded under Maria,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Cruz said 670 people were rescued in Puerto Rico, including 19 people at a retirement home in the northern mountain town of Cayey that was in danger of collapsing.

“Rivers have broken their banks and covered communities,” he said.

Some were rescued via kayaks and boats while others nestled in the huge shovel of a backhoe and were lifted to higher ground.

He lamented that some people refused to leave their homes, adding that he understood them.

“It’s human nature,” he said. “But when they saw their lives were in danger, they agreed to leave.”

A member of the Puerto Rico National Guard wades through water looking for people in need of rescue from flooded streets in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, September 19, 2022.
A member of the Puerto Rico National Guard wades through water looking for people in need of rescue from flooded streets in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, September 19, 2022.

Reuters/Ricardo Arduengo


Jeannette Soto, a 34-year-old manicurist, feared it would take a long time for crews to restore power because a landslide swept away the main lamp post in the area.

“This is the first time this has happened,” she said of the landslides. “We didn’t think the magnitude of the rain was going to be so great.”

Governor Pedro Pierluisi called for a major disaster declaration on Tuesday and said it would take at least a week before authorities had an estimate of the damage Fiona caused.

He said the rain damage was “catastrophic”, particularly in the central, southern and southeastern parts of the island.

“The impact caused by the hurricane was devastating for many people,” he said.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday as the agency announced it was sending hundreds more people to bolster local response efforts.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday he would push for the federal government to cover 100% of disaster response costs — instead of the usual 75% — as part of a declaration of emergency in the event of a disaster.

“We have to make sure that this time Puerto Rico has absolutely everything they need, as soon as possible, for as long as they need it,” he said.


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