Tropical Storm Fiona strengthened its hurricane status on Sunday as it approached the island of Puerto Rico, the national hurricane center He saidwarning that the storm could bring up to 25 inches of rain and dangerous mudslides on the island.
Max sustained winds rose to nearly 80 mph as the storm moved toward Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with hurricane warnings in effect for all of Puerto Rico and the coast of the Dominican Republic.
The hurricane was about 50 miles south of the southern Puerto Rican city of Ponce as of 11 a.m. Sunday, advancing from west to northwest at nearly eight miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The National Hurricane Center said the hurricane is expected to move near or over Puerto Rico Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening and then toward the northern coast of the Dominican Republic Sunday evening and Monday.
The news comes after President Joe Biden on Sunday morning declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico due to the storm, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to organize disaster relief efforts and provide emergency assistance measures.
Fiona dumped about 17 inches of rain on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, killing one person on Saturday and inundating several other Caribbean islands as well.
What to watch
Fiona is expected to move northeast and move away from the east coast, likely moving toward Bermuda with hurricane force, according to The Weather Channel.
As of Sunday morning, about 351,000 people were already without power in Puerto Rico, according to poweroutage.us tracking. Puerto Rico’s power grid is still recovering from Hurricane Maria in 2017, which hit the island as a Category 4 hurricane that killed nearly 3,000 people and caused extensive damage and destruction.
$90 billion. This is the amount of damage Hurricane Maria did to the island of Puerto Rico.
Tropical Storm Fiona strengthens as it approaches Puerto Rico (New York Times)
Biden declares a state of emergency for Puerto Rico due to Tropical Storm Fiona (Reuters)