Hurricane Fiona rips through vulnerable Puerto Rico

                Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico's southwest coast on Sunday, unleashing landslides, shutting down the power grid, cutting asphalt off roads and dumping shreds around.  Forecasters said the storm would cause catastrophic flooding and threatened to dump "historic" levels of rain, with a potential of up to 25 inches in isolated areas.  “I urge people to stay indoors,” said William Miranda Torres, mayor of the northern town of Caguas, where at least one major landslide was reported, with water rushing down a large slab of broken asphalt and into a canyon.  It also swept a bridge in the central mountain town of Otwado that police say was erected by the National Guard after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. Fiona hit about 15 miles southeast of Mayaguez with maximum winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the US.  National Hurricane Center.  It was moving northwest at 9 mph, storm clouds covered the entire island and tropical storm winds extended as far as 140 miles from the center of Fiona, and US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on US soil as the eye of the storm approached the southwest corner of the island.  Loma, the company that operates power transmission and distribution, said bad weather, including 80-mph winds, had caused transmission lines to be disrupted, resulting in "power outages across the island."  Very dangerous and impedes the ability to assess the full situation,” she said, adding that it could take several days to fully restore power. The health centers were running generators - and some failed. Health Minister Carlos Melado said crews are working to fix the generators as soon as possible at the Comprehensive Cancer Center Fiona struck just two days before the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, a devastating Category 4 storm that struck on September 20, 2017, devastating the island. The power grid caused nearly 3,000 deaths. More than 3,000 homes still have tarpaulins. Blue, and the infrastructure is still poor.” “I think all Puerto Ricans who have lived through Maria suffer from the post-traumatic stress of, ‘What’s going to happen, how long is it going to last and what needs might we have?” said Danny Hernandez, who works in the capital city of San Juan. But he planned to weather the storm with his parents and family in the western town of Mayaguez, and said it was bleak at the supermarket where he and others stocked before the storm hit.  “After Maria, we’ve all experienced somewhat scarcity,” the storm was expected to hit cities and towns along the southern coast of Puerto Rico that had not yet fully recovered from a series of strong earthquakes that hit the area as of late 2019. The island was caused by trees and small landslides Access is blocked, and more than 640 people with about 70 pets had sheltered across the island by Saturday night, most of them on the south coast.  Weak main lines, with reconstruction only recently beginning.  Power outages are a daily occurrence.  In the southwestern town of El Compat, which is in the way of a storm, Thomas Rivera, one of the hotel's owners, said he was prepared but worried about the "enormous" amount of rain he expected.  Noting that the nearby wildlife refuge was eerily quiet, he said, "There are thousands of birds here, and they can't be seen anywhere."  "Even the birds realized what was coming, and they are preparing."  Rivera said his staff brought bedridden family members to the hotel, where he stored diesel, gasoline, food, water and ice, given the government's slow response after Hurricane Maria.  "What we've done is prepare ourselves to rely as little as possible on the central government."  "I don't trust them," the northern coastal town of Luisa said after buying large quantities of food and water, referring to the government.  "I lost faith after what happened after Hurricane Maria."  Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Berluisi said he was prepared to declare a state of emergency if necessary and activated the National Guard as the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season approaches.  “Most of it is rain,” said meteorologist Ernesto Morales of the National Weather Service in San Juan. Fiona is expected to receive 12 to 16 inches of rain over eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 25 inches in areas Noting that Hurricane Maria in 2017 unleashed 40 inches, the National Weather Service warned late Saturday that the Blanco River in the southeastern coastal town of Naguabo had already overrun its banks and urged people living nearby to move to Fur. Government agencies will remain closed on Monday, Fiona is expected to sweep the Dominican Republic on Monday and then northern Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands with the risk of heavy rains potentially threatening the southernmost tip of the Bahamas on Tuesday, as a hurricane warning was posted for the east coast of the Republic. Dominicans from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Francis Viejo Washed his house, officials said. The storm also damaged roads, uprooted trees and destroyed at least one bridge. Kitts and Nevis also reported flooding and fallen trees, but announced the reopening of their airport International on Sunday afternoon.  Dozens of customers remain without power or water, according to the Caribbean Emergency Management Agency, and in the eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Madeleine was expected to bring torrential rain and flooding across parts of southwestern Mexico.  The storm was centered about 155 miles southwest of Cabo Corrientes Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
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                                                            <p>Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico's southwest coast on Sunday, unleashing landslides, shutting down the power grid, cutting asphalt off roads and dumping shreds around. 

Forecasters said the storm would cause catastrophic flooding and threatened to dump “historic” levels of rain, with a potential of up to 25 inches in isolated areas.

“I urge people to stay indoors,” said William Miranda Torres, mayor of the northern town of Caguas, where at least one major landslide was reported, with water rushing through a large slab of broken asphalt into a gully.

The storm also swept away a bridge in the central mountain town of Ottoado that police say was erected by the National Guard after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017.

Fiona hit about 15 miles southeast of Mayaguez with maximum winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the US National Hurricane Center. It was moving northwest at 9 mph.

Storm clouds covered the entire island and tropical storm winds extended as far as 140 miles from the center of Fiona.

US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on US soil as the eye of the storm approaches the southwest corner of the island.

Loma, which manages power transmission and distribution, said bad weather, including 80-mph winds, had disrupted transmission lines, causing “power outages across the island.”

“The current weather conditions are very dangerous and impede the ability to assess the full situation,” she added, adding that it could take several days to fully restore power.

The health centers were powered by generators – and some failed. Health Minister Carlos Melado said staff were working to repair generators as soon as possible at the Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Fiona struck just two days before the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, a devastating Category 4 storm that struck on September 20, 2017, destroying the island’s power grid and killing nearly 3,000 people.

More than 3,000 homes still only have a blue tarp roof, and infrastructure remains poor.

“I think all of us Puerto Ricans who have lived through Maria suffer from post-traumatic stress, ‘What’s going to happen, how long is it going to last and what needs might we have?'” Danny Hernandez, who works in the capital of San Juan but planned to weather the storm with his parents and family in the western town of Mayaguez.

It was bleak, he said, in the supermarket where he and others stored it before the storm hit.

“After Maria,” he said, “we’ve all experienced scarcity to some degree.”

The storm was expected to hit cities and towns along Puerto Rico’s southern coast that have yet to fully recover from a series of powerful earthquakes that hit the area starting in late 2019.

Officials reported closing several roads around the island as trees and small landslides blocked access.

More than 640 people with about 70 pets had sheltered across the island by Saturday night, most of them on the south coast.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s power grid and it remains vulnerable, with reconstruction only beginning recently. Power outages are a daily occurrence.

In the southwestern town of El Compat, which is in the way of a storm, Thomas Rivera, one of the hotel’s owners, said he was prepared but worried about the “enormous” amount of rain he expected. He noted that a nearby wildlife refuge was eerily quiet.

“There are thousands of birds here,” he said, “and they can’t be seen anywhere.” “Even the birds have realized what is to come, and they are preparing.”

Rivera said his staff brought bedridden family members to the hotel, where he stored diesel, gasoline, food, water and ice, given the government’s slow response after Hurricane Maria.

“What we have done is our willingness to rely as little as possible on the central government,” he said.

It’s a sentiment shared by 70-year-old Anna Cordova, who on Saturday arrived at a shelter in the northern coastal town of Luisa after buying large quantities of food and water.

“I don’t trust them,” she said, referring to the government. “I lost confidence after what happened after Hurricane Maria.”

Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Berluisi, said he’s ready to declare a state of emergency if necessary, and activated the National Guard as the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season approaches.

“What worries me most is the rain,” said meteorologist Ernesto Morales of the National Weather Service in San Juan.

Fiona was expected to receive 12 to 16 inches of rain over eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 25 inches in isolated areas. Morales noted that Hurricane Maria in 2017 unleashed 40 inches.

The National Weather Service warned late Saturday that the Blanco River in the southeastern coastal town of Nagwabo had already crossed its banks and urged people living nearby to move immediately.

Pierluisi announced on Sunday that public schools and government agencies will remain closed on Monday.

Fiona was expected to sweep across the Dominican Republic on Monday and then northern Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands with the threat of heavy rain. It could threaten the southernmost tip of the Bahamas on Tuesday.

A hurricane warning has been posted for the east coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Francis Vigo.

Officials said Fiona previously hit the Eastern Caribbean, killing a man in the French province of Guadeloupe when floods swept away his home. The storm also damaged roads, uprooted trees and destroyed at least one bridge.

Saint Kitts and Nevis also reported flooding and fallen trees, but announced the reopening of its international airport on Sunday afternoon. Dozens of customers remain without power or water, according to the Caribbean Emergency Management Agency.

In the eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Madeleine was expected to bring torrential rain and flooding across parts of southwestern Mexico. The storm was centered about 155 miles southwest of Cabo Corrientes Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

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