A storm that has already left one person dead strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday as it barreled toward Puerto Rico and threatened to drop massive amounts of rain on the island’s southern coast.
President Biden made an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday, as FEMA prepared to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, which was anticipated to bring up to 25 inches of rain, with most affected areas seeing between 12 and 16 inches.
Fiona, then a tropical storm, killed one man in the French territory of Guadeloupe on Friday after his home was washed away by floods. His body was discovered on Saturday.
The storm was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday as it reached sustained winds of 80 mph, and churned about 50 miles south of the city of Ponce.
“These rains will produce life-threatening flash flooding and urban flooding across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, along with mudslides and landslides in areas of higher terrain,” the the National Hurricane Center said.
“What worries me most is the rain,” forecaster Ernesto Morales with the National Weather Service said.
The National Weather Service said Saturday that the Blanco River in the island’s southeast is already overflowing and told those who live nearby to flee.
The area expected to be hit by the hurricane is still reeling from a string of earthquakes in 2019 that cause significant destruction.
Fiona will land just two days before the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, the Category 5 hurricane that destroyed Puerto Rico’s power grid and killed around 3,000 people.
With Post Wires