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Hurricane Fiona Swamps Puerto Rico, Knocking Out Power to Island

Published: September 22, 2022
The aftermath of tropical storm Fiona in Puerto Rico can be seen in this screengrab showing a vehicle that is fully submerged in flooding waters. (Image: via Reuters)

Hurricane Fiona left most of Puerto Rico without power on Sunday, Sept. 18, causing catastrophic flooding and landslides on the island before barreling toward the Dominican Republic, a government agency said.

The storm, hitting Puerto Rico five years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, ripped up asphalt from roads, swept away a major road bridge, closed airports, swamped cars and dumped rain in such quantities that some rivers were rising 20 feet in just hours, according to eyewitnesses.

The center of the storm made landfall on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico near Punta Tocon at 3:20 p.m. ET with maximum sustained winds of about 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour, clearing the threshold for a Category 1 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.

Power had begun to be restored to some areas by Sunday night, officials said, but reconnecting the whole island would take days.

Several landslides had been reported, officials said. Roads were closed and a highway bridge in Utuado, a town in the center of the island, had been washed away by a flooding river. Puerto Rico’s ports were closed and flights out of the main airport canceled.

By Reuters. (Production: Ricardo Ortiz, Kristin Neubauer)