Puerto Rico suffered 'catastrophic' damage from Hurricane Fiona

Puerto Rico suffered ‘catastrophic’ damage after Hurricane Fiona hit and at least one death as winds in excess of 65mph slammed into island and knocked out power to 1.5m – as it now barrels into Dominican Republic

  • Hurricane Fiona – currently a category 1 storm – made landfall in Dominican Republican at 3.30am Monday morning with winds of up to 90 mph
  • Most of Puerto Rico, which was hit by the devastating storm Sunday, remains without power as officials begin to assess the ‘catastrophic’ damage to the island
  • Both locations will continue to experience ‘extremely heavy rainfall’ throughout the day as Fiona softens while crossing the island of Hispaniola
  • President Joe Biden made an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday and told residents Monday that ‘we will get through this together’ 

Hurricane Fiona arrived in the Dominican Republic Monday after slamming Puerto Rico and leaving most of the island without power.

The Dominican Republic will be battered with ‘extremely heavy rainfall’ today, in addition to winds as high as 90 mph, according to Eric Blake of the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Hurricane warnings are in effect for most of the eastern part of the DR.

Puerto Rico will continue to experience heavy rainfall and some life-threatening flooding as the storm begins to subside. More than 1,000 people have been rescued from flood waters in Puerto Rico.

‘The damages that we are seeing are catastrophic,’ said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi. ‘What we don’t want is loss of life.’

At least one casualty has so far been reported out of Puerto Rico. 

President Joe Biden issued a message Monday to Puerto Rico: ‘We stand with you and we will get through this together.’ The president previously approved an emergency declaration in PR on Sunday.

About 90% of Puerto Rico (1.3 million people) remains without power currently, though 75% of the country’s cellular infrastructure is operational and hospitals in San Juan’s medical complex have power and patients are safe, according to a statement from the country’s Health Secretary.

Most of the island will likely not have power back for several days, according to authorities. The ports are closed and flights out of the main airport have been canceled. Public schools and government agencies were also closed Monday.

A man used a walker on the beach as he braced for Hurricane Fiona to make landfall in Dominican Republic on September 18, 2022

Two young men walk with difficulty due to strong winds during the passage of Hurricane Fiona, in Nagua, Dominican Republic, 19 September 2022

Palm trees were hit by heavy wind and rain after Hurricane Fiona made landfall, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 19, 2022

Residents affected by Hurricane Fiona rest at a storm shelter in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022

A parking area is seen flooded outside the Roberto Clemente Stadium after the passage of hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, on September 19, 2022.

Fiona wrought ‘catastrophic’ damage to Puerto Rico Sunday, which continues to experience heavy rainfall on Monday. A home is submerged in floodwaters caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico

A man walked on a road flooded by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022

Children played in a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico September 19, 2022

A map representing the winds speeds of Hurricane Fiona. The eye of the storm, which hit both Puerto Rico and Dominican Republican contained winds with top speeds of more than 90 mph

Puerto Rico’s power grid remains extremely fragile after Hurricane Maria, which plunged the island into darkness nearly five years ago. That category 5 storm killed close to 3,000 people and left 1.5 million people without power. New York, New Jersey and California have dispatched first responders to Puerto Rico to aide with the initial post-storm care effort.

‘These rains will continue to produce life-threatening and catastrophic flooding along with mudslides and landslides across Puerto Rico,’ said the National Hurricane Center on Monday. 

Fiona, currently a category 1 storm, made landfall in the Dominican Republic at 3.30am and is expected to weaken considerably as it makes its way through Hispaniola, the island split between the DR and Haiti.

No immediate reports of injuries have emerged from DR, but the storm brought down a number of power lines and billboards in the towns of Punta Cana, La Romana and El Seibo. About 800 people have been evacuated from high risk areas near rivers on the eastern part of the island.

The eastern part of DR is expecting as much as 15 inches of rain. Puerto Rico got nearly 30. Citizens in both places have largely been urged to remain in their homes, or if they are flooding, to seek higher ground.

Of now, Turks and Caicos is under a hurricane warning and the Bahamas could experience tropical storm conditions as soon as Tuesday, but the storm is, for now, projected to steer clear of Florida.

In the United States, the National Weather Service is warning anyone visiting the East Coast to be aware of potentially dangerous tide conditions caused by Fiona.

‘If you plan on visiting the beaches then pay attention to flags and follow the guidance of lifeguards and other local beach officials,’ said NWS in a tweet. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an an above-average hurricane season.

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A woman waded through a flooded street in Nagua, Dominican Republic, on September 19, 2022, after the passage of Hurricane Fiona

Two women retrieve scattered items from around their damaged home in the low-income neighborhood of Kosovo in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

A man waded through a flooded street in Nagua, Dominican Republic, on September 19, 2022

A man in Wheelchair looks at a flooded road after the passage of hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, on September 19, 2022

Beach-goers caught the beginning of aggressive hurricane winds that whipped the island, causing significant damage 

Satellite Image of Hurricane Fiona as it traverses the Caribbean Sea

Road damage in Puerto Rico brought about by Hurricane Fiona, which hit the island on Sunday

A road is blocked by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico on Sunday

A family removed mud from their water-logged home in Cayey, Puerto Rico one day after Hurricane Fiona pounded the island

People rest inside a shelter after the passage of hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, on September 19, 2022

A man walks pass by a Puerto Rican flag painted on a door in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Penuelas, Puerto Rico September 19, 2022

A flooded road is seen during the passing of hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico, on September 18, 2022

A home in Cayey, PR is submerged as the island is whipped by Fiona

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