After strengthening into a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, Hurricane Fiona was forecast to hit Bermuda later this week, bringing threats of hurricane-force winds and surf as the storm continues to intensify- yes
Bermuda is likely to avoid the worst of the storm’s wrath that Puerto Rico has suffered, but residents face the possibility of hurricane and tropical storm conditions between Thursday afternoon and Friday, according to the National Center for ‘Hurricanes.
The forecast also includes a storm surge on the island, including high water levels and “large and destructive waves” near the coast, according to the NHC. The Government of Bermuda advised residents to prepare for the storm checking water, medicine and food supplies and securing ships and housing.
The storm deluged Puerto Rico with 6 to 20 inches of rain earlier this week, leaving parts of the island without power or running water and under the threat of additional flooding and mudslides days later. Puerto Rico’s fragile power grid and ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017 have increased the challenges for rescue and reconstruction efforts.
At least four people have died in the Caribbean, officials said.
In Puerto Rico: “We have suffered a lot”
President Joe Biden on Wednesday approved Gov. Pedro Pierluisi’s request for a major disaster declaration, opening more federal aid.
Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it will send hundreds of personnel to help local response efforts, while the US Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency.
Puerto Rico experienced widespread landslides, damaged homes, washed-out bridges and downed power lines as torrential rains and flooding engulfed the island.
Power company officials initially said it would take several days for power to be fully restored, but then it appeared to be back on Tuesday night. Only 26 percent had power as of Wednesday morning, three days after it arrived on the island.
“We suffered a lot,” Rafael Joglar, 68, a San Juan-based biology professor, USA TODAY said, adding that the island still hasn’t recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Maria five years ago.
More than half a million Puerto Rican residents were still without water Wednesday, and people waited in line for hours to fill jugs from water trucks or collect water from mountain runoff.
Path: Hurricane Fiona strengthens to Category 4
Now a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Fiona was located about 605 miles southwest of the island of Bermuda on Wednesday evening with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The storm is expected to strengthen into Wednesday night and move north at 9 mph into the evening.
- BERMUDA: A hurricane and tropical storm watch was in effect for Bermuda on Wednesday. Fiona is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the island late Thursday or early Friday.
- TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS: Strong winds are expected to continue in parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands Wednesday morning as the storm moves toward Bermuda. With an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain expected, flooding may continue in the area.
Possibility of another hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico
A developing tropical system could develop a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by the middle of next week, forecasters warned Wednesday.
The system, now known as Invest 98L, was located near the northeast coast of South America on Wednesday. Most computer forecast models have the system heading north into the Gulf of Mexico by the middle of next week.
“This is the most significant threat to the continental US that we’ve had this hurricane season,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter.
Most computer models predict the system will be a tropical storm by the weekend in the Caribbean. Models then show the system strengthening into a hurricane early next week. If it becomes a named storm, it would be called Hermine.
This system does not appear to be a threat to areas of the northeastern Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, all of which have been hardest hit by Hurricane Fiona.
– Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Damage to Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos
In the Dominican Republic, at least two people died after a 68-year-old man was struck by a falling tree and an 18-year-old girl was struck by a falling power pole. Fiona left more than 400,000 homes without power, blocked roads and forced more than 1,550 people into government shelters.
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, officials imposed a curfew and urged people to leave flood-prone regions as Fiona approached on Tuesday. The area saw minimal damage and no deaths were reported. But telecommunications on Grand Turk, the capital island of Turks and Caicos, were severely affected, and the archipelago saw a handful of downed trees and power poles.
The hurricane is expected to hit eastern Canada
Fiona is on track to make landfall in eastern Canada along the Atlantic coast, with Nova Scotia in its path this weekend, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The government organization said Fiona was expected Friday night just south of Nova Scotia, passing through eastern Nova Scotia on Saturday and reaching the northern coast of Quebec and southeastern Labrador early Sunday . Hurricane-force winds and 4 to 8 inches of rain are possible.
Warmer-than-usual water temperatures in the North Atlantic this year could mean less weakening of the storm before it reaches Canada. In the past, cooler waters have typically weakened hurricanes into tropical storms before reaching the region, according to AccuWeather.
“Fiona will cause widespread power outages from strong winds, flooding from torrential rain and isolated storm surge, and massive seas along the coast and Gulf of St. Lawrence,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson. said
Fiona comes 5 years after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico
As Hurricane Fiona battered Puerto Rico this week, residents of the US territory in the Caribbean didn’t have to look far reminders of the last major storm to hit the area, exactly five years ago: blue tarps cover thousands of homes, structures in need of repair still dot the island, and power outages persist.
The deadliest natural disaster in Puerto Rico in 100 years, Hurricane Maria killed approximately 3,000 people and destroyed the electrical system. Although Fiona made landfall as a Category 1 storm, the damage it caused even before it hit, including the loss of power and drinking water, served as a grim reminder of why, for many residents of the island, Maria marked a different before and after in her life. Read more here.
— Amanda Perez Painted, Grace Hauck and Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY
Contributors: The Associated Press; Grace Hauck and Chris Kenning, USA TODAY
Contact News Now reporter Christine Fernando at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.