May 28, 2023

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Hurricane Fiona reaches Category 4 as it moves north, leaving disaster-stricken areas on a slow path to recovery.

Hurricane Fiona reaches Category 4 as it moves north, leaving disaster-stricken areas on a slow path to recovery.

Water is a primary concern for residents like Carlos Vega, whose hometown of Cayia in the mountains of east-central Puerto Rico has not only been hit by utility cuts but also partially collapsed roads — the result of massive flooding and more than two feet of rain. Parts of Puerto Rico were bombed.

“(Being without) electricity… We can cope with that and we can deal with that. The biggest concern is our water. We can’t live without water,” Vega told CNN on Tuesday.

Officials said Fiona also hit parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday with winds of up to 125 mph. That left many areas without power, including Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Central Caicos, said Anya Williams, the islands’ deputy governor.

Williams said no deaths or serious injuries were reported in Turks and Caicos as of Tuesday evening.

Fiona’s floods in particular left severe damage to infrastructure in Puerto Rico and then the Dominican Republic, which was crossed by the storm on Monday. More than one million utility customers in the Dominican Republic had no water service as of Wednesday morning, and more than 349,000 customers were without power, according to Major General Juan Méndez Garcia, director of the country’s emergency operations center.

The blackout comes as parts of the Caribbean face stifling heat. The National Weather Service said heat indicators – what the air feels when the temperature and humidity are combined – of 105 to 109 degrees are forecast Wednesday in north-central, northwest and western parts of Puerto Rico.

The landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday came after nearly five years Hurricane Maria Destroyed the island, leaving thousands dead and cutting off electricity and water service for over a million people for What will become of months.

The storm is pressing north and could threaten Bermuda and Atlantic Canada

Fiona, having passed her position on the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Class 3 strong storm for Class 4 – Winds of at least 130 mph – early Wednesday over the Atlantic.
By 5 p.m. EDT Wednesday, its epicenter was 615 miles southwest of Bermuda, heading north with sustained winds of 130 mph, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said. He said.
Fiona is expected to approach Bermuda late Thursday, likely a Category 4 storm, meteorologists say. He said.

“Fiona is expected to be hurricane-force through Saturday,” the Hurricane Center said.

The strong center of Fiona is currently expected to pass west of Bermuda, sparing the territory of the British island from its worst winds. But sustained tropical storm-force winds – 39 to 73 mph – are expected to reach Bermuda late Thursday or early Friday, the center He said.
US Department of State issued a travel warning On Tuesday he urged US citizens to reconsider travel to Bermuda because of the storm. The department also allowed family members of US government employees to leave the island in anticipation of the storm.

Although the storm is not expected to track near the east coast of the United States, it could generate 8 to 10 feet of land waves there over the weekend, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Wednesday.

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“It’s not a good weekend to go to the beach and get in the water — it’s time to stay out of the water,” Myers said of the East Coast.

Fiona can affect Parts of Atlantic Canada as a strong hurricane-force late Friday and Saturday, which could hit the region with strong winds, storms and torrential rain.
The storm has intensified over the past few days – I made land in Puerto Rico and dominican republic as a Category 1 hurricane before hitting both the outer bands as it moved over the water and toward the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 2 and 3 storm.

“We can’t take it any longer.”

Many in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are still grappling with the effects of Fiona and likely to face a protracted relief and recovery process.

In Nizao, a small town in the southern Dominican Republic, a woman crying tears told CNN affiliate Noticias SIN that Fiona’s winds had destroyed her home.

The next storm could be the brutal hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico

“Thank God my girls are fine. I was able to cover them with something and prevent them from using the washing machine,” she told Noticias SIN this week.

Another woman in Nizau who was removing mud from her property told Noticias SIN that she was frustrated that floods often damage the area. She said she left all her belongings behind this week when the floodwaters crept in.

“We can’t take it any longer,” the second woman told Noticias SIN. “Every year we lose our bed, our clothes, our food, everything.”

More than 610 homes in the Dominican Republic have been destroyed, and aid to some communities has been cut off by the storm, Garcia, director of the country’s Emergency Operations Center, said.

Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi He said On Twitter Wednesday, the federal government agreed to a request to declare a major disaster for the island, ensuring additional assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Although US President Joe Biden Agreed to declare emergency Sundaydeclaring a major disaster will provide additional resources – mainly individual assistance in the form of funding for housing and other needs, as well as general assistance to provide for the permanent reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

Restoration teams face challenges

The governor expected a “significant portion of the population” to return to power late Wednesday, with the exception of the island’s southern region, which has been hit the hardest, he said on Tuesday.

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But restoration crews faced challenges: Several lines that were believed to have been repaired were temporarily down due to various equipment problems, according to Jose Colon, executive director of the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority.

A spokesman for the energy provider, LUMA Energy, said Wednesday that crews may also encounter issues that require a pause in work so that the already down grid is not loaded.

On Wednesday, he said, Pierluisi will take an air tour of the island with Cresswell, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Creswell has arrived Tuesday To determine the additional federal assistance required, and on that day the damages were surveyed with the governor in the city of Patillas.

“The community there…(had) been badly damaged by the roads, the bridges had been damaged. The streets were flooded, and…other parts of the community were not accessible,” Cresswell said during a news conference on Wednesday.

“But I also saw Puerto Rico resilient,” she said. “I met a woman named Anna, who opened her house into her own driveway to help create a path for the community. With the bridge that was washed away, her home became that path to help provide food and water for the rest of her community.”

The National Guard directs traffic in Caye, Puerto Rico, where resident Luis Nogueira helps clear the road.

The storm is a disastrous blow to Puerto Rico, which was still recovering in some areas when Hurricane Maria swept through the island in 2017, causing widespread damage to infrastructure and destroying homes.

Pierluisi said on Tuesday the damage caused by Fiona was “devastating” and “catastrophic” in the center of the island and the south and southeast regions.

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Across the island, more than 800 people were housed in dozens of shelters on Wednesday, according to Puerto Rico’s Minister of Housing, William Rodriguez.

Leila Santiago of CNN Puerto Rico, Robert Shackleford of CNN, Jamil Lynch, Amanda Moses, Chris Boyett, Taylor Ward and Geneva Sands contributed to this report.