Hurricane Fiona intensified into a Category 4 storm on Wednesday after hitting itthen skin and the . It was expected to hit Bermuda later this week.
US National Hurricane Center He said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph Wednesday afternoon and had its epicenter 650 miles southwest of Bermuda, traveling north at 8 mph.
It is likely to approach Bermuda late Thursday and then the Atlantic provinces of Canada late Friday. The US State Department issued Advisor On Tuesday evening, I asked US citizens to “reconsider travel” to Bermuda.
The storm was blamed for directly causing at least four deaths in its march through the Caribbean, as heavy winds and rain in Puerto Rico left the majority of people on US soil without electricity or running water. Hundreds of thousands of people scraped mud from their homes in the wake of what authorities called “historic” floods.
Power company officials initially said it would take a few days to fully restore electricity, but they appeared to be backing out late Tuesday night. As of Wednesday afternoon, three days after Fiona arrived on the island, nearly 70% of customers were without electricity, according to government figures.
“Hurricane Fiona has severely affected the electrical infrastructure and generation facilities across the island. We want to make it very clear that efforts to restore and revitalize energy are ongoing and affected by severe flooding, impassable roads, fallen trees, equipment deterioration and faulty lines,” said Lama, the company that manages transmission and distribution energy.
“I still hope that a large portion of the population will have access to these services by the end of the day,” said Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi.
The storm killed a man in the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe, another man in Puerto Rico who was swept away by a swollen river and two people in the Dominican Republic: one killed by a falling tree and the other by a falling electric pole.
Two additional deaths have been reported in Puerto Rico as a result of power outages: a 70-year-old man was burned to death after trying to fill his generator with gasoline while it was running, and a 78-year-old man, police say, inhaled a toxic substance. The gases emitted from its generator.
The hum of generators could be heard throughout the area as people became increasingly angry. Some were still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm five years ago, causing death.
Luis Nogueira, who has been helping clear a landslide in the central mountain town of Cayes, said Maria left him without power for a year. It wasn’t until 11 months after Maria’s injury that the officials themselves announced a full resumption of service.
“We paid an electrician out of our pockets to drive us,” he recalls, adding that he doesn’t think the government will provide much help again after Fiona.
Long queues were reported at many gas stations across Puerto Rico, and some pulled off the main highway to collect water from a stream.
“We thought we had a bad experience with Maria, but this was worse,” said Gerardo Rodriguez, who lives in the southern coastal town of Salinas.
Parts of the island saw more than 25 inches of rain and more rain on Tuesday.
By late Tuesday, authorities said they had restored electricity to nearly 380,000 of the island’s 1.47 million customers. Mains water service was initially disrupted for most of the island’s users due to a lack of power and murky water at the filtration plants, but 55% of them were operating on Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, the San Juan National Weather Service issued a heat warning for several cities because the majority of the island’s 3.2 million residents remain without power.
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency traveled to Puerto Rico on Tuesday as the agency announced that it would send hundreds of additional staff to bolster local response efforts.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency on the island and deployed two teams to the island.
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he will pay the federal government to cover 100% of disaster response costs – instead of the usual 75% – as part of an emergency declaration.
“We need to make sure this time around, Puerto Rico has absolutely everything it needs, ASAP, for as long as it needs it,” he said.
Not many Americans have heard of family members who don’t have electricity.
“I haven’t been able to talk to my mom and see how she’s doing,” Nancy Valentine of Palm Beach County, Florida, told CBS News.
At Boston’s Logan Airport, Puerto Rican expats recounted their fear of drowning in Fiona’s floodwaters.
“We stayed in one room in a small corner that was safe, all night with no light or nothing,” Yolanda Rivera told CBS News. “It was very dark.”
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, officials reported minimal damage and no deaths despite the eye of the storm passing near Grand Turk, the island’s capital of the small British territory, on Tuesday morning.
The government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands have had an extraordinary experience in the past 24 hours,” Deputy Governor Anya Williams said. “He definitely came with his share of challenges.”