Hurricane Fiona: Puerto Rico suffers complete blackout

September 18, 2022

“Puerto Rico is 100% with out energy because of a transmission grid failure from Hurricane Fiona,” the web site stated.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi confirmed the outage in a tweet, noting the complete electrical system was out of service and officers have activated the right protocols to work to revive energy.

The blackout — which adopted hours of progressively worsening energy outages — comes 5 years after Puerto Rico’s energy grid was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, leaving many residents with out electrical energy for months. However officers have burdened it will not be like final time: Not lengthy earlier than the lights went out, Abner Gomez, head of public security and disaster administration at LUMA Power, which operates Puerto Rico’s energy grid, stated utility authorities plan to restore and restore electrical energy with the assistance of native authorities companies.

“This isn’t Maria, this hurricane is not going to be Maria,” Gomez stated.

Fiona has continued to strengthen Sunday and now packs sustained winds of 85 mph, in accordance with the Nationwide Hurricane Heart’s replace at 2 p.m. ET, at which level the storm was about 25 miles southwest of town of Ponce.

The storm’s impacts have already been felt: At the least one dying has been reported in Basse-Terre within the French territory of Guadeloupe, according to the vice president of the territory’s environmental company, who stated the capital had been devastated by flooding. And in Puerto Rico, flash flooding has already begun.

Pierluisi warned the storm “will cowl our total island” in a information convention Sunday, noting winds and rain bands from the storm could prolong outward as much as 100 to 120 miles. “That is impacting us now,” Pierluisi stated. “It is south of Puerto Rico however very near our coast.”

The hurricane — the third of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season — is bearing down on Puerto Rico, with the eyewall approaching the southern coast, in accordance with the Nationwide Climate Service’s workplace in San Juan. Winds are anticipated to extend alongside the quick shoreline, the hurricane middle stated, whereas situations are forecast to deteriorate all through Sunday afternoon and night as Fiona strikes close to or over the southwestern a part of Puerto Rico.
Evacuees are seen in a classroom of a public school being used as a shelter as Hurricane Fiona and its heavy rains approach in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, on Sunday.

There’s a risk Fiona’s middle would possibly skirt Puerto Rico, precluding a conventional “landfall.” However regardless, the impacts of the storm stay the identical.

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“Further strengthening is forecast throughout the subsequent 48 hours whereas Fiona strikes close to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and over the southwestern Atlantic,” the hurricane middle stated. “Hurricane situations are anticipated on Puerto Rico in the present day, and are anticipated in parts of the japanese Dominican Republic tonight and Monday.”

The Nationwide Climate Service on Sunday warned of life-threatening to catastrophic flooding, issuing flash flood warnings for south and east Puerto Rico, together with Ponce and Yabucoa, via at the very least mid-afternoon. The service stated flooding had began after an estimated 1 to 4 inches of rain had already fallen.

Very heavy rainfall of 12 to 16 inches is forecast throughout a large swath of Puerto Rico, with many of the rain anticipated Sunday, and remoted areas throughout southern and japanese Puerto Rico might see as much as 25 inches, per the hurricane middle.

Fiona's current forecast storm track across the Atlantic.

The northern and japanese Dominican Republic, too, is forecast to see 4 to eight inches of rain, with remoted totals as much as 12 inches attainable.

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“These rains will produce life-threatening flash flooding and concrete flooding throughout Puerto Rico and the japanese Dominican Republic, together with mudslides and landslides in areas of upper terrain,” the hurricane middle stated.

Already, authorities have responded to at least one such landslide: Emergency officers responded Saturday night to a landslide round 8 p.m. ET at an condo complicated in Guaynabo, according to fire and public safety officials. There have been no preliminary experiences of accidents.

Puerto Rico officers proceed to intently watch the island’s mountain areas, which have suffered landslides up to now and the place the soil is saturated from the rain, Pierluisi stated.

Round 120 shelters with 25,000 cots have been opened for these in want, the governor stated. Courses Monday have been canceled and authorities staff — save emergency staff — ought to keep dwelling, too.

Forecast rainfall accumulations due to Tropical Storm Fiona.

A hurricane warning — indicating hurricane situations are anticipated — was issued for Puerto Rico, together with the islands of Vieques and Culebra, and later expanded to incorporate the japanese Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Frances Viejo. The Dominican Republic’s northern coast, from Cabo Frances Viejo west to Puerto Plata, had been below a hurricane watch Sunday morning, which means hurricane situations are attainable within the subsequent 48 hours.

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President Joe Biden on Sunday morning accredited an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, liberating up federal assets, together with the Federal Emergency Administration Company, for emergency response and catastrophe reduction efforts.

The menace will not finish as soon as the storm passes between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Additional strengthening is predicted, and the official forecast observe signifies Fiona could possibly be a significant hurricane by Wednesday because it tracks to the east of the Bahamas and towards Bermuda.

“It seems probably that Fiona will grow to be the primary main hurricane of this Atlantic season in a couple of days,” the hurricane middle stated.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam contributed to this report.