Puerto Rico under hurricane warning as tropical storm Fiona approaches

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Tropical Storm Fiona was expected to become a hurricane as it neared Puerto Rico on Saturday, threatening to bring 20 inches (51 cm) of rain as people braced for potential landslides, severe flooding and power outages.

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The storm had previously devastated various eastern Caribbean islands, with one death in the French territory of Guadeloupe. Regional chief Alexandre Rochte told reporters on Saturday that the body was found on the side of the road after a flood washed away a house in the capital of Basse-Terre. More than 20 others were rescued amid heavy wind and rain, leaving 13,000 customers without electricity.

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Fiona was located about 90 miles (145 kph) south-southeast of St. Croix on Saturday afternoon, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). It was moving to the west at 8 mph (13 kph), forecast to pass near or over Puerto Rico on Sunday night. Fiona was expected to become a hurricane as it approached Puerto Rico.

“We are already starting to feel the effects of this,” said Puerto Rican governor Pedro Pierlucci. “We must not underestimate this storm.”

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He said the potential heavy rain is alarming because the island’s soil is already saturated. Meanwhile, many Puerto Ricans are concerned about severe power outages since the rebuilding of the island’s power grid by Hurricane Maria in 2017 began only recently. The grid remains fragile and power outages occur daily, with nearly 80,000 customers already in the dark on Saturday.

Fiona is expected to swipe the Dominican Republic as a potential hurricane on Sunday and Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Monday and Tuesday, with the threat of extreme rain.

The forecaster issued a Hurricane Watch for the US Virgin Islands, as well as the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Angano westward to Cabo Cocedo and for the north coast westward from Cabo Angano to Puerto Plata.

In Puerto Rico, officials opened shelters and closed public beaches, casinos, theaters and museums as they urged people to stay indoors. Authorities also relocated hundreds of endangered Puerto Rican parrots to their shelter.

“It’s time to activate and contact your emergency plan and help your relatives, especially older adults who live alone,” said Dr. Gloria Amador, who runs a non-profit health organization in central Puerto Rico.

Pierlucci said there is enough food available to feed 200,000 people three times a day for 20 days, along with a $550 million emergency fund to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

At least one cruise ship trip and several flights to the island were canceled, while officials on the eastern Caribbean islands canceled schools and forbade people from practicing aquatic sports as Fiona battered the area. Had given.

In the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, officials said they recorded wind gusts up to 74 mph (120 kph), which would be considered a Category 1 hurricane. He also said that the Gros Morne region received 9 inches (23 cm) of rain in three hours.

Fiona, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was predicted to cause 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) of rain in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 20 inches (51 cm) in isolated places. it’ll rain. Rainfall of 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) was forecast for the Dominican Republic, with up to 12 inches (30 cm) of rain in places. Forecasters said deadly surf was also possible from Fiona’s winds.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lester in the eastern Pacific was on a projected path that could make landfall near the Acapulco region on Mexico’s southwest coast on Saturday night.

Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm until it hit the Mexican coast. Forecasters have warned of potential danger from heavy rains.

The storm had maximum gusts of 40 mph (65 kph) on Saturday. It was centered 85 miles (140 kph) east-southeast of Acapulco and was moving to the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

The Hurricane Center said Lester could drop 8 to 12 inches (20 to 31 cm) of rain off the coasts of Upper Guerrero state and Michoacan state, with isolated areas falling to 16 inches (41 cm).
The center of the storm is likely to dissipate on Saturday afternoon.

Credit: www.marketwatch.com /

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