After strengthening to a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, Hurricane Fiona is forecast to make landfall in Bermuda later this week, bringing with it the threat of strong winds and waves as the storm continues to strengthen.
Bermuda will likely avoid the worst of the storm that Puerto Rico has suffered, but residents face the possibility of hurricanes and tropical storm conditions late Thursday through early Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The forecast also includes high tides on the island, including rising water levels and “large and destructive waves” near the coast, according to the NHC. Government of Bermudanese advise people to prepare for the storm by checking water, medicine and food supplies and ensuring the safety of boats and homes.
The storm flooded Puerto Rico with 6 to 20 inches of rain earlier this week, with parts of the island without electricity or running water and at risk of additional flooding and mudslides in the days to come. afterward. Puerto Rico’s fragile power grid and continued recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017 pose many challenges to rescue and reconstruction efforts.
Officials say at least four people have died in the Caribbean.
Governor Pedro Pierluisi requested a major disaster declaration Tuesday, calling the damage “catastrophic.” Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it would send hundreds of employees to assist with local response efforts, while the US Department of Health and Human Services declared a state of emergency. on public health.
Puerto Rico has experienced widespread landslides, damaged homes, floating bridges and downed power lines as torrential rain and flooding engulfed the island.
Power company officials initially said it would take a few days for power to be fully restored, but then appeared to be back up and running late Tuesday night. Only 26% had power on Wednesday morning, three days after it hit the island.
“We’ve suffered a lot,” said Rafael Joglar, 68, a biology professor in San Juan, tell USA TODAYadded that the island has yet to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria five years ago.
Now a Category 4 hurricane, Hurricane Fiona was located about 615 miles southwest of Bermuda Island Wednesday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The storm is expected to strengthen through Wednesday night and move north at 9 miles per hour into the evening.
- BERMUDA: A hurricane warning and tropical storm watch went into effect for Bermuda on Wednesday. Fiona is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the island late Thursday or early Friday.
- TURKS AND CAICOS ISLAND: Strong winds are forecast to continue over parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Wednesday morning as the storm moves towards Bermuda. With 1 to 3 inches of extra rain expected, flooding is likely to continue in the area.
A developing tropical system could form a storm in the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of next weekforecasters warned on Wednesday.
The system, now known as Invest 98L, was placed near the northeastern coast of South America on Wednesday. Most computer models will move the system north into the Gulf of Mexico around the middle of next week.
“This is the most significant threat to the US mainland that we’ve had this hurricane season,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter.
Most computer models predict the system will be a tropical storm over the weekend in the Caribbean. Models then suggest that the system will strengthen into a hurricane early next week. If it becomes a named storm, it will be called H Regi.
The system is unlikely to pose a threat to areas in the northeastern Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, all of which were hardest hit by Hurricane Fiona.
– Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
In the Dominican Republic, at least two people died after a 68-year-old man was crushed by a fallen tree and an 18-year-old girl was hit in the head by a fallen electric pole. Fiona has left more than 400,000 homes without power, blocked highways and forced more than 1,550 people into government shelters.
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, Officials imposed a curfew and urged residents to leave flood-prone areas as Fiona approached on Tuesday. The area suffered minimal damage and no deaths were reported. However, the telecommunications system at Grand Turk, the capital island of the Turks and Caicos, has been severely affected, and the archipelago has seen a handful of trees and power pylons down.
Fiona is on track to make landfall in eastern Canada along the Atlantic coast, with Nova Scotia en route this weekend, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The government organization said Fiona is expected to be just south of Nova Scotia on Friday night, passing east of Nova Scotia on Saturday and reaching the lower north coast of Quebec and southeastern Labrador early Sunday. Storm-like winds and 4 to 8 inches of rain are possible.
Higher-than-normal water temperatures in the North Atlantic this year could cause the storm to weaken further before it makes landfall in Canada. In the past, colder waters often weakened hurricanes into tropical winds and rainstorms before reaching the area, according to AccuWeather.
AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Anderson said: “Fiona will cause widespread power outages due to high winds, torrential rain flooding and isolated high tides, as well as high seas off and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence” speak.
When Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico this week, residents of the US territory in the Caribbean had to look no further. Reminder of the last big storm to make landfall in this areaexactly five years ago: Blue tarps covered thousands of homes, structures in need of repair were still scattered across the island, and power outages persisted.
The deadliest natural disaster in Puerto Rico in 100 years, Hurricane Maria killed about 3,000 people and destroyed the electrical system. Although Fiona made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, the damage it caused even before it hit – including the loss of power and potable water – was a grim reminder of why. why, for many islanders, Maria has marked the difference before and after their lives. Read more here.
– Amanda Pérez Pintado, Grace Hauck and Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY
Contributions: Associated Press; Grace Hauck and Chris Kenning, USA TODAY