- Hurricane Fiona left Puerto Rico and is now hitting the Dominican Republic.
- A hurricane watch is in effect from Cabo Frances Viejo to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.
- Puerto Rico continues weathering tropical storm conditions.
Hurricane Fiona is now battering the Dominican Republic, where it made landfall this morning, before reaching major cyclone status on Wednesday after leaving all of Puerto Rico without electricity and causing damage that the governor described as “catastrophic“.
This morning Fiona, the third hurricane of 2022 in the Atlantic, was located 35 miles (55 km) southwest of Samana, Dominican Republic and was moving northwest at 8 miles per hour (13 km/h) with sustained winds of up to 90 miles per hour (150 km/h).
Hurricane Fiona hits the Dominican Republic
According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the north coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Francés Viejo and the Turks and Caicos Islands are under a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch is also in effect from Cabo Frances Viejo to Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic.
Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday and today on the coast of the Dominican Republic at 3:30 local time (7:30 GMT) near Boca de Yuma, the NHC detailed. Other NHC alerts extend to the southeastern Bahamas, including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands, and to the southern coast of the Dominican Republic west of Cabo Caucedo to Barahona, according to EFE.
Puerto Rico faces catastrophic damage
No deaths have been reported, but authorities in the US territory said it was too early to tell the full extent of damage from an expansive storm that is still forecast to unleash torrential rain in Puerto Rico on Monday.
Up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) were forecast for the southern region of Puerto Rico. Up to 15 inches were projected for the eastern Dominican Republic, where authorities told most people to stay home and banned the use of beaches, according to the AP.
Heavy rain is expected to continue this Monday
“It is important that people understand that this is not over,” said Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan. He said flooding had reached “historic levels,” with authorities evacuating or rescuing hundreds of people across the island.
“The damage we are seeing is catastrophic,” Governor Pedro Pierluisi said. Before dawn Monday, authorities in a boat navigated the flooded streets of the north coast town of Catano, using a megaphone to alert people, urging them to evacuate as soon as possible.
Where Fiona heads next
On the forecast track, the center of Fiona will move over the eastern Dominican Republic on Monday morning, September 19, and emerge over the southwestern Atlantic in the afternoon. The center is forecast to pass near the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday. Strengthening winds are expected for the next few days after the hurricane exits over the Southwest Atlantic.
By Wednesday, Fiona will have become a major hurricane, according to the NHC. Hurricane conditions are already occurring in sectors of the eastern Dominican Republic within the warning area and are expected in the Turks and Caicos by Tuesday. Puerto Rico will continue this morning under tropical storm conditions, as will other sectors of the Dominican Republic.