Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Latest Posts

Hurricane Fiona cripples power in Puerto Rico as it intensifies

The hurricane is blowing into US territory with winds of 137 km/h (85 mph) and threatens to cause “catastrophic flooding.”

Hurricane Fiona slammed into the coast of Puerto Rico on Sunday, crippling all power and threatening to cause “catastrophic flooding,” with US President Joe Biden declaring a state of emergency for the island territory of the United States.

With winds of 137 km/h (85 mph), Fiona is expected to continue gaining strength over the next 48 hours as it moves toward Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic before heading north into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Fiona is becoming a hurricane,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a notice Sunday, warning of “torrential rain and mudslides.” [are] expected throughout Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.”

Catastrophic flooding is expected, the NHC said on Twitter, adding that the hurricane could cause “storm surge flooding of one to three feet.” [0.3-0.9m] over normally dry ground along the east and south coasts of Puerto Rico and the islands of Vieques and Culebra”.

The San Juan office of the National Weather Service also warned on Twitter of “life-threatening flash flooding of streams, highways and roads, and urban, low-lying, and poorly drained areas.”

The storm has already claimed one life, with one man killed when floods swept away his home in France’s overseas department of Guadeloupe, when Fiona was still classified as a tropical storm.

Biden declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico Sunday as Fiona approached the island, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance.

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi told a news conference the day before, “We are asking residents not to leave their homes and go to emergency shelters if they are in areas prone to landslides and flooding.”

The island, which has been suffering from major infrastructure problems for years, was hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, which devastated its power grid. The power grid was privatized in June 2021 to solve the problem of power outages, but the problem persisted and the entire island lost power earlier this year.

According to tracking website PowerOutage.us, Puerto Rico experienced power outages before the full force of Hurricane Fiona struck, leaving more than 388,000 people without power.

The former Spanish colony became US territory in the late 19th century before gaining Associated Free State status in 1950.

In 2017, after years of financial troubles and recession, the island declared the largest bankruptcy ever for a local US government. Later that year, Hurricanes Irma and Maria added to the island’s woes and sparked a feud between San Juan and Washington.

The administration of then-US President Donald Trump was widely blamed for failing to provide adequate federal assistance to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Footage of Trump tossing paper towels to survivors during a visit to the island drew criticism, and he later claimed the storm’s death toll was increased by Democrats to “make me look as bad as possible.”

Latest Posts

Don't Miss