Dominican Republic hit as storm gets stronger

Dominican Republic hit as storm gets stronger

A man pulls a tree that has fallen on the road

Roads in the Dominican Republic are blocked

Hurricane Fiona continues to intensify, threatening lives in parts of the Caribbean, US forecasters say.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the category two storm, which is currently reaching speeds of 115 mph (185 kph), could even worsen to category four — the second-highest designation.

Rain ravages Puerto Rico, where at least two people have died and 90% of the island is without power.

The President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, says the damage is “significant”.

The hurricane was about 9 miles (15 km) northwest of Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday at noon GMT, the NHC said.

Abinader has declared three eastern provinces of the Dominican Republic as disaster areas amid warnings from the NHC of “heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding”.

Several villages in the country were shut down as water rose, hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes and thousands were left without power.

Lexie Wilcox, who lives in Altagracia’s easternmost province, said it was the worst hurricane she’d experienced and hit her area much harder than Hurricane Maria in 2017, which killed nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico.

By Monday morning, trees had fallen, roads blocked and a lot of flooding.

She couldn’t sleep and spent the night mopping up rainwater.

The roof has partially blown off her shed and a safety sign has been blown off her house.

Mrs. Wilcox and her neighbors are without electricity and think it could take days for the storm to clear.

The connection returned for a few minutes Monday, just long enough to show Ms Wilcox, who is Canadian, the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral as the hurricane raged outside.

The NHC previously warned of ongoing threats to life in Puerto Rico due to “catastrophic flooding”. An estimated 1.3 million homes and businesses in Puerto Rico are currently without power, Reuters news agency reported. Fiona made landfall there on Sunday, causing not only flooding but widespread landslides and mudslides.

US President Joe Biden promised to scale up support for the island after a meeting with the governor.

Footage shared on social media shows cars being submerged and people trying to wade through water-filled streets, while attempts are made to rescue those stranded.

The victims in Puerto Rico were a 58-year-old man who died after being swept away by a river, while another in his thirties died in a generator fire.

The storm caused a power outage across the island, which providers warned could take days to fix.

Puerto Rico’s power grid remains vulnerable after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria – the most powerful storm in its history.

Some parts of the island face the prospect of 30 inches (76 cm) of rain as the storm passes.

Storm conditions have also been forecast in the Bahamas, while people in Bermuda have been advised to keep an eye on Fiona’s progress.

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