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Fiona strengthens to category 3 storm after leaving most of Puerto Rico in the dark

Puerto Rico Tropical Weather
Posted at 6:28 AM, Sep 20, 2022

Hurricane Fiona continues to drift away from Puerto Rico, but its impacts continue to be felt on the island.

The now category 3 hurricane is approaching the Turks and Caicos on Tuesday with a top wind speed of 115 mph.

The hurricane’s outer bands have continued to exacerbate flooding in Puerto Rico. Parts of the island have gotten over 25 inches of rain since Friday, the National Weather Service reported.

The National Weather Service said the storm could become a category 4 hurricane as it approaches Bermuda.

Experts said the storm should weaken by the weekend.

Officials said 670 people were rescued in Puerto Rico after many communities were devastated by rising flood waters.

Emergency workers in the Dominican Republic rescued nearly 800 people, officials said.

According to officials, the storm has also claimed the lives of at least three people, including two in Puerto Rico and one in the French territory of Guadeloupe.

Early Tuesday, the island’s primary power provider LUMA said power had been restored to 19% of customers. LUMA said it has 1,987 crew members working to restore power to the island of 3.3 million residents.

"We will continue to work non-stop until every customer is restored and the entire grid is reenergized. While these efforts continue over the coming days, we strongly encourage customers to continue to exercise caution and stay away from any downed powerlines,” said LUMA public safety manager Abner Gómez.

LUMA was brought in last year to manage Puerto Rico’s troubled power grid.

Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Maria. The category 5 hurricane knocked out power to the entire island. It took two months for half of Puerto Rico’s power grid to come back.