One dead after Hurricane Fiona ravaged Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing catastrophic flooding and cutting power to the island

One dead after Hurricane Fiona ravaged Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing catastrophic flooding and cutting power to the island

A man walks on a road flooded by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday, September 18, 2022.

A man walks on a road flooded by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday, September 18, 2022.AP Photo/Stephanie Rojas

  • Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast on Sunday afternoon.

  • Videos posted by social media show flooding in parts of the island caused by the severe storm.

  • Rising global temperatures are contributing to more intense storms, according to a growing body of research.

Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing a power outage across the island and major flooding. The storm’s landfall coincides with the 5-year mark of devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017 — from which the area has not yet fully recovered.

According to the National Hurricane CenterThe Category 1 storm made landfall on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast around 3:20 p.m. local time on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour.

“The damage we are seeing is catastrophic,” Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi told The Associated Press on Sunday.

According to the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día, local officials have confirmed that at least one person has died after reportedly being washed away by a stream of water. In a separate incident, firefighters in the city of Arecibo said a man died of burns after trying to fill his generator with gasoline.

National Guard officials said they rescued about 1,000 people by noon Monday, according to CNN.

As the hurricane swept into the island, brown water poured through the streets and into homes. More than a foot of rain has drenched the island in several locations, and one reporting station reported more than two feet of rain in the past 24 hours. Almost the entire island remains under flood warnings.

On Sunday morning, US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on the island as the storm approached and ordered federal assistance to complement disaster relief efforts.

A Loiza Municipality employee is calling on residents to evacuate amid impending flooding caused by the rains from Hurricane Fiona, in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday, September 18, 2022.

A Loiza Municipality employee is calling on residents to evacuate amid impending flooding caused by the rains from Hurricane Fiona, in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday, September 18, 2022.AP Photo/Alejandro Granadillo

A video from a flooded area in Arecibo shows a door-to-door search and rescue operation, with many people refusing to leave their homes.

The storm flattened power lines, leading to “an island-wide power outage,” according to a press release from LUMA Energy, the private company that manages electricity transmission and distribution in Puerto Rico. The company said it could take days to fully restore the service.

Monday morning, the head of Puerto Rico’s Aqueducts and Sewers Authority said 750,000 customers have no water on the island after the hurricane.

Fiona stormed an island already vulnerable after Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that damaged homes, destroyed the electrical grid and killed nearly 3,000. More than 3,000 homes only have a blue tarpaulin as a roof.

Another video captures the moment when gusts from Hurricane Fiona ripped off the roof of a house in Ponce, on the southern part of the island. It is unknown if anyone was in the house at the time.

Man-made climate change makes hurricanes like Fiona more dangerous, according to a growing body of research. Earth’s warmer and more humid atmosphere and warmer oceans provide fuel for hurricanes, leading to more intense rainfall and wind speeds.

“Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” is expected to continue in most of Puerto Rico, the National Hurricane Center said:.

After Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico on Sunday, it moved into the Dominican Republic on Monday morning. The National Hurricane Center said: on Monday that “hurricane conditions” were expected to continue over parts of the Dominican Republic.

This story has been updated with new information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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