Hurricane Fiona floods Puerto Rico, threatens Dominican Republic

Intensifying Hurricane Fiona is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to Puerto Rico, causing power outages the whole island.

Newest: Fiona’s eye is approaching the coast of the Dominican Republic near the town of Punta Cana as heavy rainfall and “catastrophic flooding” continue to spread across much of the Puerto Rico National Hurricane Center tweet early Monday.

A tweet from the National Weather Service said all of Puerto Rico was under a flash flood warning except the Northeast.
Photo: New Creation San Juan/Twitter
  • According to a National Hurricane Center advisory issued at 2 a.m. Monday, Fiona is estimated to have maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, along the coast of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo and the Turks and Caicos Islands. A hurricane warning has been issued.
  • There were no immediate reports of deaths in Puerto Rico, although officials in the U.S. territory said it was too early to assess the damage, with heavy rains expected to continue through Monday and the Caribbean island continuing to be hit hard.

Big picture: Fiona made landfall near Punta Tocon on Puerto Rico’s southeast coast around 3:20 p.m. local time with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. tweet.

  • A Category 1 storm is dumping more than 2 feet of rain in Puerto Rico, “causing catastrophic” flooding, the NHC said on Sunday. The hurricane knocked out the island’s fragile power grid.
  • Ponce, on the southern side of the island, had sustained winds of 69 mph with maximum gusts of 103 mph, according to the Hurricane Center.
  • President Biden declared Puerto Rico facing a federal disaster and mobilized aid to the island.
    Data: National Hurricane Center; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios
Data: National Hurricane Center; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

Threat Level: The storm is likely to bring heavy rain and hurricanes to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on Monday, with widespread rainfall of 12 to 18 inches expected in some places.

  • Some parts of Puerto Rico will drop a greater amount, especially at higher elevations, possibly as much as 30 inches in a short period of time.
  • “These rains will continue to cause life-threatening catastrophic flash flooding and urban flooding in eastern Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as well as mudslides and landslides in higher-lying areas,” the hurricane center warned at 2 a.m. Monday.

at the same time, Puerto Rico’s power grid, which was severely damaged during Hurricane Maria in 2017, has been shaken, with nearly 1.5 million customers without power as of 3 a.m. ET, according to

  • The test for utility operators is how quickly they can restore power after the storm has passed.

What are they talking about: “The damage we’re seeing is catastrophic,” Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said.

or note: NOAA scientists managed to fly a remote-controlled “navigation drone” into the eyes of Hurricane Fiona, which helped validate their strength estimates.

  • Storm surge flooding is forecast to be 3 to 5 feet above normal dry land along the coast of the Dominican Republic, followed by a potential rise of 2 to 4 feet along the coast of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • The NWS in San Juan issued a flash flood warning from Sunday through Monday as the rain swelled rivers and streams. Videos from social media showed floods washing away bridges, power lines and other infrastructure in southwestern Puerto Rico.
  • The storm caused devastating flooding after dumping nearly 20 inches of rain on the French island of Guadeloupe late last week.

What’s next: Fiona is expected to be the first “major” Atlantic hurricane of the season to reach a Category 3 or higher intensity by midweek.

  • Most computer models now bring the storm to seas east of the continental United States, but it could pose a threat to Bermuda later this week.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with new details.

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