- Hurricane Fiona becomes a Category 3.
- Officials warn that Fiona’s damage to Puerto Rico could exceed that of previous hurricanes.
- The National Guard has rescued more than 900 people in Puerto Rico.
Tuesday, September 20, is the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic day that Hurricane Maria made landfall in 2017. Some of those who lived through the tragedy of that moment say that the destruction of the floods from Fiona could be even more serious, according to CNN.
Hurricane Fiona headed toward the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as a Category 3 hurricane, prompting the government to impose a curfew after causing “catastrophic damage” in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, according to AP.
Fiona wreaks havoc on her journey
Forecasters said Fiona was expected to pass near Grand Turk, the British territory’s capital island, on Tuesday morning. “Storms are unpredictable,” Prime Minister Washington Misick said in a statement from London, where he was attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. “Therefore, you must take every precaution to ensure safety,” he added.
Early Tuesday, Fiona was centered 20 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Grand Turk Island. It had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) and was moving north-northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).
Fiona continues to whip Puerto Rico
The intensifying hurricane continued to dump heavy rain on 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 was associated with the blackout. A 70-year-old man was burned to death when he tried to fill a generator with gasoline while it was running, according to authorities.
The National Guard has rescued more than 900 people as water continued to engulf towns in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain expected in some spots. Several landslides were also reported.
Thousands of people without electricity
Fiona’s impact was most devastating for Puerto Rico because it has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes in the island still have blue tarps as a roof.
Authorities said at least 1,300 people and about 250 pets remained in shelters around the island. Fiona cut power when it hit the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico on Sunday, the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which hit the island in 1989 as a Category 3 storm.