Reinforcement of Fiona Barrels towards the Turks and Caicos Islands

Reinforcement of Fiona Barrels towards the Turks and Caicos Islands

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AFP) – Hurricane Fiona pushed hard toward the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as it threatened to turn into a Category 3 storm, prompting the government to impose a curfew.

Forecasters said Fiona could become a major hurricane as late as Monday or Tuesday, as it is expected to pass close to British soil.

“Storms are unpredictable,” Prime Minister Washington Messick said in a statement from London, where he was attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. “So you should take every precaution to ensure your safety.”

Messick was due to go home on Thursday.

Fiona was stationed 80 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island late Monday. Its maximum winds were 110 mph and was moving north-northwest at 10 mph.

The severe storm continued to bring heavy rains to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where a 58-year-old man died after police said he was swept away by a river in the central mountain town of Comerio.

Officials said another death was linked to a power outage – a 70-year-old man burned to death after trying to fill his generator with gasoline while it was running.

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The National Guard has rescued more than 900 people as floodwaters continue to rush through towns in eastern and southern Puerto Rico with up to 30 inches of rain forecast in some areas. Multiple landslides have also been reported.

The blow from Fiona was even more devastating because Puerto Rico had yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and devastated the 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 remain in shelters across the island.

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Fiona caused a power outage when it hit the southwest corner of Puerto Rico on Sunday, in memory of Hurricane Hugo, which hit the island in 1989 as a Category 3 storm.

By Monday night, authorities said they had restored electricity to more than 114,000 customers on the island of 3.2 million people.

Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, has warned that it may take days before everyone has electricity.

More than 837,000 consumers – two-thirds of the island’s total – had water service cut off due to turbid water at purification plants or a lack of electricity, officials said.

Forecasts called for Fiona to grow into a major Category 3 or larger hurricane. It was on its way to pass near the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday and was not expected to threaten the US mainland.

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In the Dominican Republic, authorities reported one death: a man who crashed into a falling tree. The storm displaced more than 12,400 people and isolated at least two communities.

The hurricane caused many highways to be closed and a tourist pier in Michis Township was badly damaged by the waves. Officials said at least four international airports were closed.

Dominican President Luis Abenader said authorities would need several days to assess the effects of the storm.

Fiona previously hit the eastern Caribbean, killing a man in the French province of Guadeloupe when his home was swept away by floodwaters, officials said.

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