UPDATE: Hurricane Fiona brings devastation to Caribbean island of Puerto Rico

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Hurricane Fiona has made landfall on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico where the entire electricity supply has gone down for its 3.3 million inhabitants.

 

UPDATE: Monday, September 19 at 02:00am

Hurricane Fiona has reached Puerto Rico, with all of the island’s ports closed and all flights out of the main airport cancelled. According to the National Hurricane Center (HNC), the storm made landfall at around 3:20pm local time near the town of Punta Tocon on the southwestern coast.

LUMA Energy, the company that provides electricity to the population of around 3.3 million inhabitants has confirmed that the power is cut across the whole island. It added that power will possibly not be restored for several days.

As the storm makes its way north-westward it is expected to hit the Dominican Republic and cause catastrophic flash flooding, landslides and mudslides with the torrential rainfall it brings with it. By Tuesday, September 20, tropical storm conditions are forecast to affect the whole of the Turks and Caicos Islands, according to the NHC.

Sunday, September 18 at 9:59pm

According to reports this evening, Sunday, September 18, the entire island of Puerto Rico is without electricity after Hurricane Fiona approaches and makes the inevitable landfall. Around 1.4 million homes are said to be without power.

The east-coast town of Yabucoa is already being battered by bringing severe gusts of around 60mph. Fiona was upgraded from a Tropical Storm to a full-blow Category 1 hurricane, with the island’s Governor Pedro Pierluisi announcing that the territory’s electrical system was completely out of service due to the impending storm.

According to LUMA Energy – the private company that handles the transmission and distribution of electricity in Puerto Rico – due to the magnitude and scope of the blackout it could be several days before full power can be restored.

The entity added that it maintains sufficient resources to respond to the storm’s effects on the grid, as reported by accuweather.com.

During a press conference yesterday, Pierluisi was unexpectedly left in the dark when the power went off. Although it was only temporary it still gave an indication of the fragile condition of the island’s energy supply grid. This has been partly blamed on the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria back in 2017.

On Saturday, September 17, the Accuweather forecasters warned that many regions of the island could experience as much as 24 inches (600 mm) of rainfall.

There are concerns about the La Plata dam and its ability to handle the excessive amount of rainfall that Fiona is bringing with it. The reservoir is located in the Toa Alta region of the island and was created in 1973 to provide drinking water for residents. A sudden influx of extra water could cause the lake to overflow and cause flooding.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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