Hurricane Fiona, which upgraded to a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, was heading toward Bermuda after wreaking havoc in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, killing at least four people.
Fiona dumped 6 to 20 inches of rain on Puerto Rico and parts of the island were left without power or running water on Wednesday as residents struggled to clear their homes and streets of debris. Tuesday’s persistent rains also threatened further flooding and mudslides. Rescuers used heavy equipment, kayaks and boats to transport survivors to safety.
At least four people have died in the Caribbean, said Keith Turi, FEMA deputy administrator for recovery.
In Puerto Rico, Governor Pedro Pierluisi called for a major disaster declaration on Tuesday, calling the damage “catastrophic”. Power company officials initially said it would take a few days for power to be fully restored, but then appeared to backtrack on Tuesday evening. Only 26% had electricity Wednesday morning, three days after arriving on the island.
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Hurricane Fiona upgrades to category 4
Now a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Fiona was located about 700 miles southwest of the island of Bermuda Wednesday morning with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The storm is expected to strengthen through Wednesday evening and move north at 8 mph into the evening.
- BERMUDA: A hurricane and tropical storm watch was in effect for Bermuda on Wednesday. Fiona is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the island late Thursday or early Friday.
- TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS: Gusty winds are expected to continue over parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands Wednesday morning as the storm moves towards Bermuda. With an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain expected, flooding could continue in the area.
Fiona arrives 5 years after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico
As Hurricane Fiona slammed into Puerto Rico this week, residents of the US territory in the Caribbean didn’t have to look far for Reminders of the last major storm to hit the region exactly five years ago: Blue tarps are draped over thousands of homes, structures in need of repair still dot the island, and power outages persist.
The deadliest natural disaster in Puerto Rico in 100 years, Hurricane Maria killed an estimated 3,000 people and destroyed the electrical system. Although Fiona caused a Category 1 storm, the damage it caused before it even hit – including the loss of electricity and drinking water – served as a grim reminder of why, for many islanders, Maria marked a distinct before and after in their lives. Learn more here.
— Amanda Pérez Pintado, Grace Hauck and Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY
Contributor: The Associated Press
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