One dead after Hurricane Fiona slammed into Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing devastating flooding and cutting power across the island

One dead after Hurricane Fiona slammed into Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing devastating flooding and cutting power across the island

A man walks along a street flooded by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.

A man walks along a street flooded by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.AP Photo/Stephanie Rojas

  • Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon.

  • Videos from social media show flooding in areas of the island caused by the severe storm.

  • Rising global temperatures are contributing to more intense storms, according to a growing body of research.

Hurricane Fiona slammed into Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing island-wide blackouts and extensive flooding. The storm’s landfall coincides with the five-year anniversary of 2017’s devastating Hurricane Maria — from which the region has yet to fully recover.

According to National Hurricane Centerthe category 1 storm made landfall on the southwest coast of puerto rico at about 3:20 p.m. ET local time on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

“The damage we’re seeing is catastrophic,” Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluigi said Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

Local officials confirmed that at least one person died after being reportedly swept away by a current of water, according to Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Día newspaper. In a separate incident, firefighters in the city of Arecibo said a man died of burns after trying to fill his generator with gasoline.

National Guard officials said about 1,000 people had been rescued by emergency crews by midday Monday, according to CNN.

As the typhoon entered the island, brown water rushed into streets and homes. More than a foot of rain has drenched the island in several locations, and one weather station reported more than 2 feet of rain in the past 24 hours. Almost the entire island remains under flood warnings.

On Sunday morning, US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on the island as the storm approached, ordering federal aid to supplement disaster relief efforts.

A Loiza municipality worker urges residents to evacuate due to impending flooding from the rains of Hurricane Fiona, in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.

A Loiza municipality worker urges residents to evacuate due to impending flooding from the rains of Hurricane Fiona, in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.AP Photo/Alejandro Granadillo

A video from a flooded area in Arecibo shows a door-to-door search and rescue operation, with many people refusing to leave their homes.

The storm knocked down power lines, leading to an “island-wide blackout,” according to a press release from LUMA Energy — the private company that operates electricity transmission and distribution in Puerto Rico. The company said it could take days to fully restore service.

On Monday morning, the head of Puerto Rico’s Water and Sewer Authority said 750,000 customers were without water on the island after the hurricane.

Fiona is blocking an island that was already fragile after Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that destroyed homes, knocked out the power grid and caused nearly 3,000 deaths. More than 3,000 houses still have only a blue tarpaulin as a roof.

Another video captures the moment wind gusts from Hurricane Fiona tear off the roof of a house in Ponce, in the southern part of the island. It is unknown if anyone was home at the time.

Human-induced climate change is making hurricanes like Fiona more dangerous, according to a growing body of research. Earth’s warmer and wetter atmosphere and warmer oceans provide fuel for hurricanes, causing heavier rainfall and wind speeds.

“Destructive and life-threatening flooding” is forecast to continue in most of Puerto Rico. the National Hurricane Center said.

After making landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday, Hurricane Fiona moved into the Dominican Republic on Monday morning. The the National Hurricane Center said on Monday that “hurricane conditions” were expected to continue in parts of the Dominican Republic.

This story has been updated with new information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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