NHC: Fiona Intensifies to Category 3 Hurricane After Burying Puerto Rico in Feet of Rain; Track Path
Hurricane Fiona intensified to a Category 3 storm early Tuesday after devastating Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with feet of rain and catastrophic flooding on its course to Turks and Caicos, and the National Hurricane Center says the brutal system is expected to strengthen further over the next few days.
As of NHC’s 8 a.m. update, the center of Fiona was about 10 miles northwest of Grand Turk Island. Maximum sustained winds were 115 mph.
Fiona is expected to continue its north-northwest turn through Tuesday, then turn toward the north Tuesday night or Wednesday. On the current track, the hurricane will continue to move near Grand Turk and eastern parts of the island over the next few hours. Hurricane-force and tropical-force winds extend outward up to 30 and 150 miles, respectively, from the center.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Turks and Caicos, while a tropical storm warning is in effect for the southeastern Bahamas. The Dominican Republic discontinued its hurricane watch by early Tuesday.
Communities there and in Puerto Rico, especially, were inundated with torrential rain and wild winds, amounting to more than 2 feet of water in parts of the U.S. territory as the threat of deadly mudslides loomed. Lago Cerillos, not far from Ponce, where Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico ahead of a second landfall in the Dominican Republic a day later, saw nearly 3 feet of fain. The National Hurricane Center says parts of Puerto Rico could see more than 35 inches, ultimately.
President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico ahead of the storm, while the governor of Puerto Rico, as the worst of it hit, described “catastrophic” damages as the island plunged into darkness.
Luma, the company that operates power transmission and distribution, said bad weather, including winds of 80 mph, had disrupted transmission lines, leading to “a blackout on all the island.”
While the rain has mostly ebbed in Puerto Rico, isolated flash floods are possible in southern parts Tuesday as heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash floods continue in the Dominican Republic Tuesday. Heavy rains around Fiona’s center impact the Turks and Caicos through Tuesday afternoon with continued life-threatening flooding. Storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 8 feet above normal tide levels in parts of coastal Turks and Caicos, NHC says.
Photos: Hurricane Fiona Batters Dominican Republic After Knocking Out Power in Puerto Rico
Strengthening is expected over the next few days and Fiona is expected to become a major hurricane by Wednesday, NHC says. It could reach up to a Category 4 storm at that time, though it will be far west of the Bahamas by then. It could remain a Category 1 hurricane when it makes landfall once again Saturday night — up in Newfoundland, Canada.
As of now, it poses no threat to any part of the mainland U.S., although large swells will bring high surf to tri-state area beaches by the end of the week.
Hurricane Fiona has brought catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico, forcing residents to endure power outages, mudslides, and flood. Gaby Acevedo reports.
Source: NBC New York
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