Fiona becomes a major hurricane as it approaches the Turks and Caicos Islands

On Tuesday, Fiona turned into a powerful hurricane in the direction of the Turks and Caicos Islands, forcing the British territory’s government to impose a curfew.

“Storms are unpredictable,” Prime Minister Washington Mizik said in a statement from London, where he was attending funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. “Therefore, you must take every precaution to ensure your safety.” Missick was due to return home on Thursday.

Fiona was centered 20 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island early Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. It was moving north-northwest at 10 mph.

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Fiona is seen approaching the Turks and Caicos Islands after becoming a major hurricane on September 20, 2022.

NOAA


The center said Finona was expected to continue to strengthen over the next few days, but it was not expected to threaten the US mainland.

Heavy rain was still falling over the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico Tuesday morning.

The center said: “Heavy rainfall and localized life-threatening flash flooding continue in parts of the Dominican Republic today. Heavy rain around the center of Fiona is affecting the Turks and Caicos this afternoon with prolonged life-threatening flooding. Additional localized flash and urban flooding flooding is possible in southern Puerto Rico.”

The National Guard rescued more than 900 people as flooding continued to sweep through towns in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 30 inches of rain forecast in some areas.

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A member of the Puerto Rico National Guard wades through water to search for people in need of rescue on flooded streets after Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, on September 19, 2022.

RICARDO ARDUENGA / REUTERS


In Puerto Rico, the police said that a A 58-year-old man died after it was swept away by a river in the central mountain town of Comerio.

Another death on the island was linked to widespread power outages caused by Fiona – the death of a 70-year-old man who officials said caught fire after he tried to fill his generator with petrol while it was working.

The blow from Fiona was made all the more devastating because Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and knocked out the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island are still covered in blue tarps.

Authorities said at least 1,300 people and about 250 pets remain in shelters across the island.

Fiona caused a blackout if that hit the southwest corner of Puerto Rico on Sundayon the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which hit the island in 1989 as a Category 3 storm.

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A man stands amid debris on the beach after Hurricane Fiona struck in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on September 19, 2022.

RICARDO ROJAS / REUTERS


By Tuesday morning, authorities said they had restored power to more than 260,000 customers on the island of 3.2 million people.

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi warned that it could be several days before everyone has electricity.

Water service was cut off to more than 837,000 customers — two-thirds of the island’s total — due to cloudy water at filtration plants or a lack of electricity, officials said.

In the Dominican Republic, authorities reported one death: a person was struck by a falling tree. As a result of the storm, more than 12,400 people were displaced and at least two settlements were cut off.

The hurricane left several highways blocked and the tourist pier in the town of Miches badly damaged by high waves. At least four international airports were closed, officials said.

Dominican President Luis Abinoder said authorities would need several days to assess the effects of the storm.

Fiona previously ravaged the eastern Caribbean, killing one man in the French territory of Guadeloupe when flooding washed away his home, officials said.

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