All the inhabitants of Turks and Caicos, where strong winds and heavy rains are already blowing which could bring up to 20 cm of precipitation in places, are called by the authorities of this British overseas territory to to confine.
Potentially deadly flash floods are indeed to be feared there, warns in its latest bulletin the National Hurricane Center (NHC), based in Miami, which notes that these dangerous phenomena continue to threaten the Dominican Republic.
With its winds now blowing up to 185 km/h, Fiona has reached category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, making it “the first major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season“, according to the NHC.
Forecasts call for the hurricane to strengthen further.
In the wake of Fiona, a man died in Guadeloupe, carried away with his house by the waves of a flooded river. Another died in the Dominican Republic while chopping down a tree, and a third in Puerto Rico, putting fuel in a burning generator.
The hurricane caused damage”catastrophic” in Puerto Rico, according to the governor of this American territory, Pedro Pierluisi.
Although the hurricane is moving away from it, flash flooding is still likely to occur there, the NHC notes.
A state of emergency has already been established there, and Mr. Pierluisi announced on Tuesday his intention to ask US President Joe Biden to declare a state of major disaster.
In the Dominican Republic, rainfall and flooding “localizedwere continuing Tuesday in some areas, according to the NHC.
Several roads were flooded or cut by falling trees or electric poles in the vicinity of the seaside resort of Punta Cana, in the east of the country, where the electricity supply was interrupted, according to journalists from the AFP.
In Puerto Rico, Fiona caused landslides, downed trees and power lines, made roads impassable and swept away a bridge in the town of Utuado.
“It was a horrible experience“, commented Tuesday Jorge Cintron, 57, installed on the southwest coast. For him, the winds carried by Fiona were “stronger than for Maria“, the hurricane that devastated the island in 2017.
The Puerto Rican agricultural sector has been devastated, according to the president of a farmers’ association, Hector Cordero, who said in a radio interview on Tuesday that banana, vegetable and coffee crops had been hit hard.
“Agriculture has globally disappeared“, swept away by the flood, he said.
The entire territory of Puerto Rico, which has more than three million inhabitants, had been without electricity as the hurricane approached.
Power has so far only been restored to just under 300,000 customers of utility LUMA, but the governor said at a press conference on Tuesday he expects “most of the island“will have access to electricity again in the evening or during the day on Wednesday.
Nearly 700,000 people also still do not have access to drinking water, according to the authorities.