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‘Massive power outage’ on Puerto Rico as Hurricane Fiona swamps the island!

Hurricane Fiona leaves most of Puerto Rico without electricity, government agency says. Five years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, a storm visited Puerto Rico that tore up highways’ asphalt. Eyewitnesses say some rivers rose 20 feet in a matter of hours. The hurricane then made its way toward the Dominican Republic.

‘This has been catastrophic,’ Puerto Rico’s governor says. Carmen Yulín Cruz says many believe the rainfall is worse than Hurricane Maria in 2017. The storm made landfall on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico near Punta Tocon. It had maximum sustained winds of about 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour.

Electricity has been out completely across the island of 3.3 million people, said LUMA Energy, operator of the island’s grid. Puerto Rico’s grid remains fragile after Hurricane Maria in September 2017 caused the largest blackout in U.S. history. Thousands of Puerto Ricans still live under makeshift tarpaulin roofs.

Power is being restored to hospitals and other critical community services, an official says. Several landslides had been reported, officials said. Roads are closed and a highway bridge in Utuado has been washed away by a flooding river. The island’s ports were closed and flights out of the main airport canceled.

Residents in the Dominican Republic are being evacuated from high-risk areas ahead of Hurricane Patricia. The Turks and Caicos Islands are likely to see tropical storm conditions on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says. President Luis Abinader postpones a trip to New York to participate in the United Nations General Assembly. The start of the Dominican school year has been pushed back to Wednesday.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says agency officials deployed to Puerto Rico would assist with restoration efforts. Denise Rios, who lives in southwestern town of Hormigueros, said she was left without power following strong gusts of wind and rain. US President Joe Biden approves an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico.

Parts of Puerto Rico are forecast to get 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) of rain, while parts could get as much as 25 inches (63.5 cm). Authorities open more than 100 shelters and close beaches and casinos. One death tied to Fiona has been reported so far, in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.


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