Hurricane Fiona hits the Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands


Hurricane Fiona slammed into the tiny British territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands at Category 3 strength on Tuesday morning, after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remained without electricity or running water, and first responders used heavy equipment. to move survivors to safety.

The eye of the hurricane passed Tuesday morning near Grand Turk Island, the capital of the tiny British Caribbean territory, after the government was forced to impose a curfew and asked people to flee from areas prone to to floods.

The storm surge could increase water levels in the area between 1.5 and 2.40 meters above normal, according to the United States National Hurricane Center.

“Fiona has definitely beat us to the punch in the last couple of hours, and we’re still not out of the worst of it,” said Akierra Missick, minister for physical planning and infrastructure development.

On Tuesday night, the center of the storm was about 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of North Caicos Island, with gale-force winds extending up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) from its center.

“Storms are unpredictable,” Turks and Caicos Premier Washington Misick said in a statement from London, where he was attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. “Therefore, they must take all precautions to ensure their safety.” Misick was scheduled to return Thursday.

Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) and was moving north-northwest at 8 mph (13 km/h), according to the US National Hurricane Center, which said it is likely The meteor may further strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane on Friday as it approaches Bermuda.

However, it was forecast to weaken before reaching far eastern Canada over the weekend.

Downpours continued to pummel parts of Puerto Rico on Tuesday, where the sounds of people scraping, sweeping and spraying their homes could be heard in rural areas as the floodwaters began to recede.

In the central mountain town of Cayey, where the Plato River overflowed its banks and a brown torrent submerged houses and cars, dressing rooms, beds and large refrigerators were scattered in people’s backyards on Tuesday.

The storm continued to drop heavy rains on Tuesday over the Dominican Republic. In Puerto Rico, a 58-year-old man has died after being swept away by a river in the central mountain town of Comerío, according to police.

Another death was reported, associated with a blackout caused by the meteor. A 70-year-old man was burned to death when he tried to fill the generator with gasoline while it was running, according to authorities.

Parts of the island had received more than 25 inches (64 centimeters) of rain and more was falling Tuesday.

National Guard Brigadier General Narciso Cruz described the resulting flooding as historic. He said there were communities that were flooded by the storm that weren’t flooded by Hurricane Maria, which in 2017 caused nearly 3,000 deaths.

Cruz said 670 people were rescued in Puerto Rico, including 19 people in a nursing home in the northern mountain town of Cayey, which was in danger of collapsing.

Some people were rescued by kayaks and boats. Several even had to accommodate themselves inside the enormous shovel of an excavator in order to be taken to a higher area.

Cruz lamented that some people refused to leave their houses, but added that he understood them.

Fiona’s impact was most devastating for Puerto Rico as it has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which also destroyed the power grid. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island still have blue tarps as roofs.

Authorities said Monday that at least 2,300 people and about 250 pets remained in shelters around the island.

Fiona cut power when it hit the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico on Sunday, the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which hit the island in 1989 as a Category 3 storm.

By Tuesday morning, authorities said they had restored power to more than 286,000 users, on an island with 1.47 million network customers.

The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, warned that it could be several days before they have electricity. Pierluci filed for a disaster declaration Tuesday, saying it will take at least a week for authorities to estimate the damage caused by Fiona.

More than 837,000 customers, two-thirds of the island’s total, were left without running water due to cloudy water at filtration plants or a lack of electricity, officials said.

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