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Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Monday after wreaking havoc in Puerto Rico, where the power grid was disrupted and residents suffered floods and landslides.
Maximum sustained winds on land in the Dominican Republic are estimated to be around 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Major flooding caused by a hurricane has been blamed for the death of at least one person on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, A local official said. No deaths have been reported in Puerto Rico, but authorities say it is too early to assess the damage from the storm, which is expected to bring heavy rains across the region on Monday.
The US land area is expected to reach 30 inches in its eastern and southern regions.
Puerto Rico in Blackout After Hurricane Fiona hits, residents may be powerless ‘for days’
“It’s important for people to understand that it’s not over yet,” said Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.
Morales said the flooding had reached “historic levels” and authorities were evacuating or rescuing hundreds of people across the region.
“The damage we are seeing is catastrophic,” Governor Pedro Pierluisi said.
Brown water flowed through streets and homes and consumed even a runway airport in southern Puerto Rico.
The cyclone tore asphalt off roads and swept a bridge in the town of Ottoado, which police said the National Guard added after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017.
Hurricane Fiona also ripped off the roofs of many homes on the island.
The center of the storm was 50 miles southeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour Sunday night, according to the US National Hurricane Center. Fiona was moving northwest at 9 mph.
Puerto Rico cradles Fiona as a storm surges into a hurricane before landslide
Authorities continue to assess the damage to Fiona, and many residents are unsure when electricity will be restored.
Luma, which manages power transmission and distribution, said bad weather, including 80-mph winds, disrupted transmission lines on Sunday.
The health centers were running generators, and some broke down. Health Minister Carlos Melado said crews rushed to fix the generators at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
More than 3,000 homes still have blue tarpaulins in place of the roof. Infrastructure, including the power grid, remains weak. Reconstruction has only recently begun and interruptions are still frequent.
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More than 1,000 people with about 80 pets across the island were in need of shelter by Sunday night.
US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico as the eye of the storm approached the southwest corner of the island.
Fiona was expected to hit northern Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Monday after making landfall in the Dominican Republic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.