Tropical Storm Fiona: Puerto Rico braces for flooding and landslides as strengthening storm approaches
The storm, which is already rolling into Puerto Rico about 80 miles south of the town of Ponce, is heading west with sustained winds of 65 mph, and heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds are occurring. already in the US Virgin Islands and much of Puerto Rico.
The center of Fiona is currently forecast to approach Sunday morning before moving near or over southwestern Puerto Rico later this afternoon or evening.
Very heavy rains of 12 to 16 inches are forecast over a wide swath of Puerto Rico, with most rain expected Sunday, and isolated locations in southern and eastern Puerto Rico could see up to 25 inches, par center of the hurricane. The north and east of the Dominican Republic are also expected to see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with isolated totals of up to 12 inches possible.
« These rains will produce flash flooding and life-threatening urban flooding in Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, as well as landslides and landslides in areas of higher ground, » the center said. hurricanes.
Storm surge presents another threat and could raise water levels 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels along the southern coast of Puerto Rico and in the Dominican Republic, where onshore winds will be the strongest.
A hurricane warning – stating that hurricane conditions are expected – was issued for Puerto Rico, including the islands of Vieques and Culebra, then expanded to include the eastern Dominican Republic from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Frances Viejo. The U.S. Virgin Islands and the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, from Cabo Frances Viejo west of Puerto Plata, are under hurricane watch Sunday morning, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours. .
The threat won’t end once the storm passes between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic: further strengthening is expected, and the storm could become a Category 2 hurricane as it heads east from the Bahamas, where the government has issued a tropical storm watch for the southeastern Bahamas and a tropical storm watch or the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas by late Monday or early Tuesday.
CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam contributed to this report.