Hurricane Fiona causes power outages and massive flooding in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona causes power outages and massive flooding in Puerto Rico

top line

Governor Pedro Pierluisi said, Monday, that Hurricane Fiona caused “catastrophic” damage in Puerto Rico, a day after it cut power to the Category 1 storm and caused landslides and massive flooding on the island, which is still reeling from the deadly Hurricane Maria, which hit her. US territories in 2017.

key facts

The storm has killed at least one person in Puerto Rico since it reached the island’s southern coast Sunday afternoon: An elderly man was killed while trying to turn on an electric generator, according to the The New York TimesCiting government employees.

1.3 million people were out of power on Monday afternoon, and all 1.4 million customers in Puerto Rico were tracked down by Power has been restored to about 100,000 consumers, LUMA said, but it could take several days for electricity to return to most of the island.

Some parts of the island have received more than 30 inches of rain, Pierluisi said, which could lead to “life-threatening and catastrophic flooding” as well as mudslides, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities said they have evacuated hundreds of people in Puerto Rico from their homes since the storm began.

President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico on Sunday, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to organize disaster relief efforts.

What to watch

Fiona is now hitting the Dominican Republic after making landfall on the island of Hispaniola Monday morning with sustained winds of 90mph. The storm is expected to intensify after moving away from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is then expected to move near the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday, before veering toward the Atlantic and possibly approaching Bermuda as a major hurricane Thursday or Friday.

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main background

Puerto Rico’s power grid has been at risk since Hurricane Maria in 2017, which made landfall on the island as a Category 4 storm and killed nearly 3,000 people, left many without power for months, decimated neighborhoods and caused an estimated $90 billion in damage. The financially stretched Puerto Rican government has struggled to restore the island’s power grid, which has struggled with funding problems for years, and officials contracted with LUMA in 2020 to take over the power transmission and make urgent repairs. The move to a private operator led to frequent blackouts that led even Berluisi to criticize the company, although the company said the island’s aging infrastructure, severe weather and poor maintenance were to blame. Hundreds of Puerto Ricans protested the deal with LUMA and demanded that the government terminate the contract.

the shadow

Fiona is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States this year, and the first hurricane or tropical storm to make landfall in the country since early July. The Atlantic hurricane season has been uncharacteristically calm, despite previous forecasts for a very active year.

Huge number

At least 750,000. Puerto Rico’s water management authority, Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, told Washington Post.

in-depth reading

Hurricane Fiona rips through vulnerable Puerto Rico (Associated Press)

Hurricane Fiona makes landfall in the Dominican Republic (CNN)

Puerto Rico loses electricity as Hurricane Fiona makes landfall (Forbes)

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