A direct impact occurred yesterday in the southern and southwestern parts of Puerto Rico Hurricane FionaHis eye caused a landslide between Lajas and Cabo RojoWinds of up to 103 miles per hour destroyed structures and dumped eight to 13 inches of rain, causing flooding and landslides in what has already turned into a multimillion-dollar disaster.
Fiona, whose effects were felt across Puerto Rico and predicted a long recovery, left behind a general blackout, worsening sea conditions and at least 1,325 refugees, a number that threatened to rise last night.
Due to flooding in rivers, hundreds of people were evacuated and rescued, by the National Guard and municipal authorities, in cities such as Caguas, Cayey, Maunabo, Yabucoa, Salinas, Guayama and Bayamon.
In Uduwa, two bridges collapsed leaving families in limbo; And across the country, dozens of highways were impassable due to landslides and downed trees and utility poles.
Governor Peter Pierluzzi As of today, damage analysis will begin and a detailed picture is expected to be available in the coming days.
According to him National Hurricane Center (NHC, English), Fiona’s eye entered Punta Dogon at 3:20 p.m., with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. This is the first hurricane to hit Puerto Rican soil since Maria’s fifth anniversary is celebrated tomorrow.
Wind gusts of 103 mph were reported in Ponce Ernest MoralesNotifications Coordinator National Weather Service (SNM). Rain associated with the hurricane will continue today and tomorrow, he said, with up to 30 inches possible.
President Joe Biden It approved a declaration of emergency yesterday, which will allow Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA, in English) Assist the state government in immediate security measures. Later, a disaster declaration may be issued to aid recovery.
At press time, there were no significant incidents in the eastern and northwestern regions, while mayors in the southern and southwestern regions were unable to go out to update their damage reports as conditions continued to deteriorate.
“It’s a disaster”
Earlier, San German Mayor, Virgil Oliveira, Fiona’s effects on the South West were expected to be devastating. By 5:00 p.m., the Guanajibo and Dewey Rivers had overflowed their banks, cutting off most of the city’s roads. “It’s a disaster, honestly. The situation is going to be very strong in this area,” he lamented.
His counterpart from Marikao, Wilfredo RuizBetween 300 and 400 families from his municipality and Sabana Grande were reportedly cut off as the PR-120 highway connecting the two towns was blocked.
Oliveira, Ruiz and Lajas Mayor Jayson Maldonado lamented that few citizens responded to calls to mobilize for shelters, despite living in areas prone to flooding, landslides and other threats.
In Guánica and Yauco, the concern of mayors Ismael “Titi” Rodríguez and Ángel Luis Torres, respectively, is the damage caused by Fiona to structures affected by earthquakes in 2020. In both cities, families are still waiting for new housing.
“We are a people affected by previous earthquakes and hurricanes, and that is one of our concerns. But we are a resilient people, and those experiences have taught us,” Rodriguez said.
On the other hand, the mayor of Maunapou, Angel Omar LaFunte, it was reported that a 70-year-old man in Hemajagua community lost the roof of his wooden house due to the wind. The man, who was in good condition, was taken to a relative’s home.
Lafuente added that personnel from the Maunabo Municipal Emergency Management Office (OMME) rescued a family stranded on PR-759. He said water from the Maunabo River was entering his house and they decided to leave, but were caught.
The National Guard And Salinas’ OMME evacuated the communities of Playa, Playa, and part of the Las Margaritas urbanization because the Nigua River is at risk of overflowing its banks.
Carlos ReyesDirector of Kuyama Zone Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Management (Nmead), said that about 20 people were evacuated from the mosquito community in the city due to the storm surge.
In Juana Díaz, six families lost their roofs in the neighborhoods of Zacaguas, Aruz, Rio Cañas Arriba and Rio Cañas Abajo, said Angel Feliciano, director of OMME. He realized that it was difficult to get to the houses due to fallen trees on the roads.
Meanwhile, Villalba, Jayuya and Adjuntas, worried about landslides due to rains.
Gerardo E. Alvarado contributed to this note.