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Hurricane Fiona slams Turks and Caicos after devastating Puerto Rico and leaving at least 5 dead across the Caribbean




The storm was threatening more deadly flooding on Tuesday as it swept across the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Fiona, a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115 mph, was hitting the Turks and Caicos Islands while centered about 40 miles off Grand Turk Island at about 2 p.m. ET. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said heavy rains in the area could lead to “life-threatening flooding” during the afternoon in parts of the UK with a population of about 38,000.
The Dominican Republic is still grappling with the devastated path of Fiona — where the storm’s outer bands are still causing flooding after it traversed the Caribbean nation on Monday — and Puerto Rico, which Fiona crossed the day before, causing almost power outages and leaving unseen damage. There since Hurricane Maria made landfall five years ago on Tuesday, officials said.

At least two people have died in the severe weather in the Dominican Republic, according to Major General Juan Manuel Méndez Garcia, director of the country’s emergency operations center. Director Orelis Esther Jimenez, 18, said she was traveling by motorbike when she was struck by a power pole that had fallen due to strong winds. She was taken to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

On Monday, officials there also confirmed the death of a man in Nagoa, in the northeastern Dominican Republic, after being struck by strong winds in a tree. One death was also reported in the French province of Guadeloupe, which was hit by Fiona late last week, and two in Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico, 58-year-old Gilberto Ayala Aponte swept a swollen river behind his home in Comerio. Another man, 70, Jose Cruz Roman, died in a fire that occurred when he was trying to put gasoline into his generator while it was running, officials said.

In Puerto Rico, parts of which will see rain totals of more than 30 inches, Fiona has pushed rivers to flood and rising waters to collect in parts of the territory, inundating homes, streets and fields. One of the videos showed flowing water decimating a bridge and carrying its structure downstream. CNN staff said mudslides blocked some roads from coastal areas inland.

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said on Tuesday that the damage is catastrophic in the territory’s center and its southern and southeastern regions.

The governor said a large portion of the population should have electricity by late Wednesday, but the greater damage in the southern part of the island means it will take longer to restore there.

More than 1.17 million of the island’s 1.47 million utility customers were still without power as of early Tuesday, according to a estimate, which indicates that updated information about restoration efforts is limited.

Fiona gets stronger as she rushes north

Fiona intensified into a Category 3 storm as it moved away from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic early Tuesday.
This is the first major hurricane – Category 3 or higher – of the Atlantic hurricane season this year.
The hurricane center said heavy rain around central Fiona would threaten the Turks and Caicos Islands with “continued, life-threatening flooding” through Tuesday afternoon.
Where does Fiona go from here is where she gets stronger
Those islands could see 4 to 8 inches of rain Tuesday above what they received earlier, as well as storm surges — pushing ocean waters to land — 5 to 8 feet, according to the Hurricane Center.

Hurricane conditions can be seen in Turks and Caicos through Tuesday afternoon, and tropical storm conditions – winds of at least 39 mph – are expected to spread over the southeastern Bahamas on Tuesday morning.

A boost is expected as Fiona switches from Turks and Caicos. It may be a Category 4 storm — with sustained winds of 130 to 156 mph — late Wednesday over the Atlantic. It is expected to pass near or west of Bermuda late Thursday or early Friday, and could remain in Category 4 when it does, meteorologists say.

Over the weekend, Fiona could make landfall in eastern Canada as a hurricane. It’s too early to know exactly where or how strong it is.

Fiona leaves behind a devastated Puerto Rico

Tuesday marks five years since the disastrous Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, and some who lived through the 2017 crisis say flooding in Fiona could be even more severe.

Juan Miguel Gonzalez, a Puerto Rican business owner, told CNN that his neighborhood had not yet finished recovering from Maria when she hit Fiona. But this time, he says, the floods caused more damage to their homes.


“A lot of people – more than (through) Maria – have lost their homes now … have lost everything in their homes to the floods,” Gonzalez told CNN on Monday. “Maria’s wind was stormy. But this wind, with all the rain, destroyed everything in the house.”

Getsabel Osorio stands in her home that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria five years ago before Fiona arrived in Luisa, Puerto Rico.

Officials said water service was also disrupted for most people, because river flooding affected filtration operations and must subside before safe treatment can resume. The province’s Canal and Sewerage Authority said about 60% of customers on the island had no running water on Tuesday morning.

Pierluisi said more than 1,200 people were staying in about 70 shelters on the island on Tuesday. Major General Jose Reyes, an assistant general in the Puerto Rican National Guard, said emergency crews were battling relentless rain to save nearly 1,000 lives as of midday Monday.

On Tuesday, the governor said school buildings will be checked to make sure it is safe for students to return to class in the coming days.

National Guard forces direct traffic as Resident Luis Nogueira helps clear a road damaged by Hurricane Fiona in Cayai, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday.
In addition to hundreds of Puerto Rican National Guard personnel helping with rescue and recovery efforts, the White House said Monday that President Joe Biden told Pierluisi during a phone call that federal support would increase in the coming days.

“With damage assessments in place, the president said the number of support personnel will increase significantly,” the White House said.

New York Governor Cathy Hochhol also announced that the state will send 100 state troops to assist relief efforts in Puerto Rico. She also said that teams from the New York Energy Authority are available to help restore energy.

More than a million customers left without water service in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, where up to 20 inches of rain fell in some places, emergency workers brought nearly 800 people to safety, said Juan Manuel Méndez, director of emergency management operations for the Dominican Republic. He said at least 519 people took refuge in the country’s 29 shelters on Monday.

As of Monday afternoon, at least 1018,564 customers across the Dominican Republic had no access to running water as 59 aqueducts were out of service and many others were only partially operating, according to Jose Luis Germain Mejia. National Emergency Management Officer.

Emergency management officials said some in the Dominican Republic were also out of power on Monday with 10 circuits out. It is unclear how many people were affected by the outage.

revision: This story has been updated with the correct age of the second victim in Puerto Rico, following updated information from officials.

CNN’s Leila Santiago, CNN’s Nicky Carvajal, Robert Shackleford, Melissa Alonso, Artemis Mochtagian, Taylor Ward, Holly Yan and Jamil Lynch contributed to this report.


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