Hurricane Fiona blasted the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remained without electricity or running water. Hurricane conditions slammed Grand Turk, the small British territory’s capital island, on Tuesday morning after the government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said parts of the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos would experience “life-threatening” flooding Tuesday. Storm surge could raise water levels in the British territory by as much as 5 to 8 feet above normal, the hurricane center said.
By late Tuesday morning, the storm was centered about 40 miles from Grand Turk, with hurricane-force winds extending up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm force winds extending up to 150 miles.
“Storms are unpredictable,” Premier Washington Misick said in a statement from London, where he was attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
“You must therefore take every precaution to ensure your safety.”
Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and was moving north-northwest at 9 mph, according to the hurricane center, which said the storm is likely to strengthen further into a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Bermuda on Friday.
It was forecast to weaken before running into easternmost Canada over the weekend.The broad storm kept dropping copious rain over 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.
Another death was linked to a power blackout — a 70-year-old man was burned to death after he tried to fill his generator with gasoline while it was running, officials said.
Parts of the island had received more than 25 inches of rain and more was falling on Tuesday.National Guard Brig. Gen. Narciso Cruz described the resulting flooding as historic.
“There were communities that flooded in the storm that didn’t flood under Maria,” he said, referring to the 2017 hurricane that caused nearly 3,000 deaths. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Cruz said that 670 people have been rescued in Puerto Rico, including 19 people at a retirement home in the north mountain town of Cayey that was in danger of collapsing. (CBS)