Horror! Incredibly destructive Hurricane Fiona hits Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
Hurricane Fiona was churning north on Monday night after bringing torrential rain and powerful winds to the Dominican Republic and a total power outage in neighboring Puerto Rico.
The first hurricane to score a direct hit on the Dominican Republic since Jeanne left severe damage in September 2004, Fiona caused severe floods, cutting off villages, forcing about 12500 from their homes and leaving 709000 without power.
The Category 2 hurricane, packing maximum wind speeds of 110 mph (177 km/h), was about 80 miles (129 km) southeast of Grand Turk Island, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, and is expected to strengthen to Category 3 as it heads across warm Caribbean waters to the Turks and Caicos.
On Tuesday, the center of Fiona is expected to pass near the archipelago, where a hurricane warning has been declared, the NHC said, with tropical storm conditions also expected in the Bahamas.
After strafing Puerto Rico, Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic near Boca Yuma early on Monday, with its center reaching the northern coast of Hispaniola before noon.
In La Altagracia, in the extreme east, the overflow of the Yuma River damaged farms and left several towns isolated.
Electric and water utilities are working to restore services in affected areas.
Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, is still being lashed by strong winds, frequent lightning and heavy rain after Fiona made landfall there on Sunday afternoon, dumping up to 30 inches (76.2 cm) of rain in some areas.
The storm comes five years after Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, which triggered the worst power blackout in U.S. history.
Meanwhile in the Dominican Republic, authorities closed ports and beaches and told most people to stay home from work. Nearly 800 people were evacuated to safer locations, and more than 700 were in shelters, officials said.
The hurricane left several highways blocked, and a tourist pier in the town of Miches was badly damaged by high waves. At least four international airports were closed, officials said.
Nearly 90% of Puerto Rico remained without power on Monday, according to Poweroutage.us. Officials said it would take days to restore power to all the island’s 3.3 million people.
Downed trees and mudslides blocked many roads.
Crews rescued about 400 people from flooding in the southern town of Salinas, where rain slowed to a drizzle. The south and southeast regions were the hardest hit.