Fiona intensified into a major hurricane as it lashed towards the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday, prompting the British territorial government to impose a curfew.
“Storms are unpredictable,” Washington Governor Missick said in a statement in London.“So you have to take every precaution to keep you safe.” Missick was due to go home on Thursday.
Fiona was concentrated about 20 miles southeast of Grand Turk early Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was moving north-northwest at 10 miles per hour.
Finona is expected to continue to intensify in the coming days, but is not expected to threaten the continental U.S., the center said.
The storm was still raining heavily over the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico early Tuesday.
The center said: “Today, heavy rainfall and localized life-threatening flash floods continued in parts of the Dominican Republic. Heavy rain around the Fiona Center affected the Turks and Caicos Islands into this afternoon with continued life-threatening flooding. Localized Additional flash floods and possible flooding in southern parts of the city of Puerto Rico.”
The National Guard rescued more than 900 people as floodwaters continued to rip through towns in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, with up to 30 inches of rain expected in some areas.
In Puerto Rico, police sayAfter the central mountain town of Comerio was swept away by the river.
Another death on the island was linked to a widespread power outage caused by Fiona — officials said a 70-year-old man was burned to death after trying to top up his generator with gasoline while it was running.
The blow from Fiona was more devastating because Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and knocked out its 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 were left in shelters on the island.
Fiona causes a blackoutthe anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which hit the island as a Category 3 storm in 1989.
By Tuesday morning, authorities said they had restored power to more than 260,000 customers on the island’s population of 3.2 million.
Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi warned that it could take days for everyone to have electricity.
Officials said more than 837,000 customers, or two-thirds of the island’s population, had been cut off from water service due to cloudy water at the filtration plant or a lack of electricity.
In the Dominican Republic, authorities reported one death: a man who was hit by a falling tree. The storm displaced more than 12,400 people and cut off at least two communities.
The hurricane blocked several highways and a tourist pier in the town of Miches was badly damaged by high waves. Officials said at least four international airports were closed.
Dominican President Luis Abinader said it would take several days for authorities to assess the storm’s impact.
Fiona had previously struck the eastern Caribbean, killing a man on the French territory of Guadeloupe when floodwaters washed away his home, officials said.