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Fiona Upgraded to Category 1 Hurricane as It Lashes Puerto Rico

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(Bloomberg) — Atlantic storm Fiona was upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday as it threatens Puerto Rico and parts of the Dominican Republic with lashing winds and flash floods. 

As of 11 a.m. local time, Fiona was hovering 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Ponce, Puerto Rico, packing sustained winds of 80 mph with higher gusts, making it a Category 1 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said. 

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Fiona is expected to dump 12-16 inches of rain across Puerto Rico and 4-8 inches across northern and eastern Dominican Republic. 

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Track Fiona’s latest path

“These rains will produce life-threatening flash flooding and urban flooding across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, along with mudslides and landslides in areas of higher terrain,” the agency said.

The Biden administration on Sunday approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, a US territory of 3.1 million people.

Fiona comes almost five years after a powerful Category 4 hurricane, Maria, slammed into Puerto Rico, leading to nearly 3,000 deaths and billions of dollars in property damage. 

One of the biggest casualties of Maria was Puerto Rico’s ailing electrical grid, and parts of the island went without power for almost a year. 

On Sunday, with Fiona still off Puerto Rico’s southern coast, more than 479,160 households were without power — or about 33% of customers, the island’s gird operator Luma Energy reported. 


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