The category 2 storm continues to ravage the area, hitting Puerto Rico first, where at least two people have died, while causing considerable damage in three eastern provinces of neighbouring Dominican Republic, rendering them disaster zones. With speeds of 110mph (175km/h), it could reach the second-highest category 4 status, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Monday morning saw trees down and roads blocked, leaving areas without electricity, with NHC warning of ongoing threat to life in Puerto Rico. Catastrophic flooding has already caused widespread mudslides, landslides and deluges. Rescue attempts continue to retrieve those trapped by rising floodwater, with some areas expecting 30 inches (76cm) of rainfall. A 30-year-old man has already died in a generator fire, while another man in his 50s was swept away by a river.
The Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, hopes to have a damage estimate once the rain dissipates – which is necessary for Puerto Rico to request formal disaster declaration, enabling the availability of additional free resources. Global economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophe events were estimated at $75 billion in the first half of 2022.
Storms are also forecast in the Bahamas, with Fiona hitting the Turks and Caicos Islands, with residents of Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay ordered to clear the streets by 5pm and stay indoors.