Shortly before making landfall Sunday afternoon, Hurricane Fiona knocked out power for the entire island of Puerto Rico.
Fiona, upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane early Sunday, made landfall in Punta Tocon at about 3:20 p.m. According to the National Hurricane Center, winds were gusting to 85 mph.
According to the region’s environmental office, at least one person has been confirmed dead in Basse-Terre in the French territory of Guadeloupe, which has witnessed significant floods.
The man was discovered dead after his house was carried away by 19 inches of rain and flooding.
Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi reported on Facebook Sunday afternoon that more than 1.5 million customers are without power.
Fiona is predicted to continue heading west-northwest until passing near or over Puerto Rico Sunday afternoon or evening, then turn toward the Dominican Republic on Monday before approaching the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.
The storm is expected to head east into the Atlantic Ocean, avoiding the US shore, while strong surf and rip tides are still possible.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Fiona could bring 12 to 16 inches of rain to the region, with up to 25 inches possible in eastern and southern Puerto Rico.
The rain will cause dangerous flash flooding, mudslides, landslides, storm surges of up to 3 feet, and dangerous surf and rip current conditions.
The Leeward Islands might receive 2 inches of rain, while the British and American coasts could receive 4 to 6 inches. 3 to 6 inches in the Turks and Caicos Islands, 4 to 8 inches in the northern and eastern Dominican Republic, 1 to 3 inches in Haiti, and 3 to 6 inches in the Virgin Islands.
A hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico, which includes the islands of Vieques and Culebra, as well as the Dominican Republic’s coast from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Frances Viejo.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the United States Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic’s north coast from Cabo Frances Viejo westward to Puerto Plata.
President Biden declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico on Sunday morning, mobilizing government resources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for disaster response and relief activities.
Puerto Rican public schools will be closed on Monday, and the country’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, has advised those in flood zones to evacuate.
Fiona is approaching the region nearly five years after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico and the northeast Caribbean as a Category 4 hurricane.
More than 3,000 people were killed, almost entirely in Puerto Rico.
In the United States, four persons were killed, including three swimmers who drowned off the coast of New Jersey.
Tropical Storm Peter impacted Puerto Rico in September 2021, and Tropical Storm Fred was a month earlier.
Following Danielle and Earl, Fiona is the third hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic Ocean season.