Hurricane Fiona, which strengthened into a Category 4 storm Wednesday, was headed for Bermuda after wreaking havoc on Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, killing at least four people.
Fiona dumped 6 to 20 inches of rain on Puerto Rico and parts of the island remained without electricity or running water Wednesday as residents struggled to clear their homes and streets of debris. Lingering rainfall Tuesday also threatened additional flooding and mudslides. Rescuers used heavy equipment, kayaks and boats to carry survivors to safety.
At least four people have died through the Caribbean, said Keith Turi, FEMA assistant administrator for recovery.
In Puerto Rico, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi requested a major disaster declaration Tuesday, calling the damage “catastrophic.” Power company officials initially said it would take a few days for electricity to be fully restored, but then appeared to backtrack late Tuesday night. Only 26% had power as of Wednesday morning, three days after it hit the island.
Here’s the latest:
Now a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Fiona was located about 700 miles southwest of the island of Bermuda on Wednesday morning with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The storm is expected to strengthen through Wednesday night and move north at 8 mph through the evening.
- BERMUDA: A hurricane watch and tropical storm watch was in effect for Bermuda on Wednesday. Fiona is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the island late Thursday or early Friday.
- TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS: Gusty winds are expected to continue over parts of Turks and Caicos islands Wednesday morning as the storm moves toward Bermuda. With an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain expected, flooding may continue in the area.
As Hurricane Fiona bore down on Puerto Rico this week, residents of the U.S. territory in the Caribbean didn’t have to look far for reminders of the last great storm to hit the area, exactly five years ago: Blue tarps are draped over thousands of homes, structures in need of repair still dot the island and power outages remain persistent.
The deadliest natural disaster in Puerto Rico in 100 years, Hurricane Maria killed roughly 3,000 people and destroyed the electrical system. Though Fiona made landfall Category 1 storm, the damage it wrought even before it struck – including the loss of power and potable water – served as a grim reminder of why, for many of the island’s residents, Maria marked a distinct before and after in their lives. Read more here.
— Amanda Pérez Pintado, Grace Hauck and Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press