Hurricane Fiona could upgrade to Category 3 as it heads for the Turks and Caicos Islands – NBC Chicago

The strengthening Hurricane Fiona tracked towards the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as it threatened to develop into a Category 3 storm, prompting the government to impose a curfew.

Forecasters said Fiona could become a major hurricane late Monday or Tuesday when it was expected to pass close to British territory.

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

Misick was due to return home on Thursday.

Fiona was centered 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Grand Turk Island on Monday evening. It had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) and was moving north-northwest at 10 mph (17 km/h).

The intensifying storm continued to bring heavy rain to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where 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 is linked to the blackout – a 70-year-old man who was burned to death after trying to fill his generator with gasoline while it was running, officials said.

The National Guard has rescued more than 900 people as floodwaters continue to rush through cities in eastern and southern Puerto Rico with up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain forecast for some areas. Several landslides were also reported.

Fiona’s blow was made more devastating as Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and knocked out the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 houses on the island are still covered with blue tarps.

Authorities said at least 1,300 people and some 250 pets remained in shelters across the island.

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 Monday evening, authorities said they had restored power to more than 114,000 customers on the island of 3.2 million people.

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi warned it could take days before everyone has power.

Water service has been cut to more than 837,000 customers – two-thirds of the total on the island – due to cloudy water at filter plants or lack of power, officials said.

Forecasts called for Fiona to become a Category 3 or greater major hurricane. It was about to pass close to the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday and should not threaten the American continent.

In the Dominican Republic, authorities have reported one fatality: a man struck by a falling tree. The storm displaced more than 12,400 people and isolated at least two communities.

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.

Fiona has previously battered the Eastern Caribbean, killing a man in the French territory of Guadeloupe when floodwaters swept away his home, officials said.

NBC Chicago

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