In Puerto Rico, the damage from Fiona was hard to miss. Roads were stripped of pavement, roofs were torn off houses, a bridge was completely washed away, millions are left without drinking water, and 1.2 million are still without power.
Hurricane Fiona dumped over 30 inches of rain across parts of Puerto Rico and blasted the Turks and Caicos Tuesday morning as a Category 3 storm, pummeling the islands with heavy rains and high winds. The storm did the same over the weekend and into Monday across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as torrential rain led to flooding, and powerful winds resulted in major power outages.
Manuel Crespo, a news reporter and weather anchor for TeleOnce, was on the scene in southwestern Puerto Rico Monday morning and told AccuWeather that the flooding from Fiona was “worse than people thought [it would be],” adding that people he spoke with were not prepared for this amount of rain.
Four deaths have been reported so far in the northern Caribbean due to Fiona. A 70-year-old man was killed in Puerto Rico when he tried to fill a generator with gasoline while it was running, setting it on fire, the AP reported. A 58-year-old man died when he was swept away by an overflowing La Plata River behind his home in Comerio, Puerto Rico, a spokesperson for Gov. Pedro Pierluisi told CNN. Officials told local media that Isidro Quiñones, a 60-year-old man died in the Dominican Republic when a tree fell on him. And in a report from Reuters, before Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico, one person died in the French Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe, which is a part of the Leeward Islands.
Statement from the Caribbean Tourism Organization Chair
Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Council of Ministers & Commissioners of Tourism, added: “I am confident that I speak for all of my Ministerial Colleagues in saying that our thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters across the Caribbean that are being impacted by the ravages of Hurricane Fiona.
“I sincerely hope that you, your loved ones, and colleagues are safe and secure.
“I recognize that the needs of your family, friends and communities are your top concern right now, and I want you to know that the CTO stands ready to assist in whatever ways we can, if and when you need us in the weeks to come.
“As Islands in the Caribbean situated in the hurricane belt, we have all faced the impact of tropical storms and hurricanes and can relate to what you are going through. We know that there will be many difficult months ahead for those for those who have been most affected.
“But with our strong faith and commitment to one another’s well being, we will get through this. As a region, we have strength in our collective support systems and those of us who are unaffected by Hurricane Fiona, stand ready to help our regional neighbors who are in need.”
As Hurricane Fiona moved away from the northern Caribbean Monday evening, it intensified into the first major hurricane, which is considered a Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. AccuWeather forecasters warn that Fiona could strengthen into a Category 4 as it comes perilously close to Bermuda later this week. Rough surf is expected to be felt up and down the U.S. East Coast.
AccuWeather is estimating the economic impact on the island from Fiona to be about $10 billion. “The damage is considerable,” the Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader said, Reuters reported.
US Senate Candidate in Florida, Val Demings, said on twitter:
“Five years later and Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria as they now face Hurricane Fiona. Puerto Rico needs more than our thoughts and prayers. They need our help to restore their beautiful island.”
Prior to Fiona’s landfall, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in the U.S. territory Sunday morning. The action authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts on the island. Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will travel to Puerto Rico Tuesday to meet with Governor Pierluisi and assess damages caused by Fiona.
VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM @FREDTJOSEPH, TWITTER