Hurricane Fiona slammed into the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as a Category 3 storm after slamming into Puerto Rico, where most people remained without electricity or running water and rescuers used heavy equipment to ferry survivors to safety.
The eye of the storm passed near Grand Turk, the capital of the small British territory, after the government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas. Storms can raise water levels there by as much as 1.5-2.5 meters above normal, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
Later on Tuesday, the storm was centered about 80 kilometers north of North Caicos Island, with hurricane-force winds extending 45 kilometers from the center.
Prime Minister Washington Messick urged people to evacuate, saying “storms are unpredictable.” He delivered his statement from London, where he had just attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. “So you must take every precaution to ensure your safety.”
According to the Hurricane Center, Fiona had maximum winds of 185 kilometers per hour and was moving from north to northwest at 13 kilometers per hour, and said the storm was likely to intensify into a category four hurricane as it approaches Bermuda on Friday.
It was expected to weaken before reaching far eastern Canada over the weekend.
The storm surge continued to bring heavy rain 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 one death was linked to a power outage – a 70-year-old man was burned to death after trying to fill his generator with gasoline while it was running.
Parts of the island saw more than 64 centimeters of rain and more rain on Tuesday.
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.
Fiona is not currently expected to threaten the mainland United States.