Hurricane Fiona: Storm becomes Category 1 hurricane on its way to Puerto Rico

The storm’s effects are already visible: At least 1 death has been reported in Basseterre, Guadeloupe, France, According to the vice president The region’s environment agency said the capital had been devastated by Puerto Rico More than 310,000 customers were without power as of 10:45 a.m. ET Sunday, and the National Weather Service said flash flooding had begun, according to

The hurricane, the third of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, is headed toward Puerto Rico, south of the city of Ponce, the Hurricane Center said. Heavy rain and tropical storm strong winds have affected much of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“Over the next 48 hours, Fiona is expected to strengthen further as it moves over Puerto Rico, near the Dominican Republic, and over the southwestern Atlantic,” the Hurricane Center said. “Hurricane conditions are expected in Puerto Rico today, with expectations for tonight and Monday. There will be a hurricane in parts of the eastern Dominican Republic.”

Based on current forecasts, Fiona’s center is expected to approach by Sunday morning before moving near or over southwestern Puerto Rico in the afternoon or evening.

Fiona's current forecasted storm track across the Atlantic Ocean.
On Sunday, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning through at least mid-afternoon for parts of southern and eastern Puerto Rico, including Ponce and Yabucoa, noting that flooding had begun after an estimated 1 to 2 inches of rain had already fallen.

Heavy rainfall of 12 to 16 inches is expected across swathes of Puerto Rico, with most of it expected Sunday, with up to 25 inches likely in remote areas of southern and eastern Puerto Rico, according to the hurricane center.

4 to 8 inches of rain is also forecast in the northern and eastern Dominican Republic, with isolated totals likely to be as high as 12 inches.

“These rains will cause life-threatening flash floods and urban flooding in eastern Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as well as mudslides and landslides in higher-lying areas,” the Hurricane Center said.

Another threat is storm surge, which could raise water levels 1 to 3 feet above normal on the southern coast of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where onshore winds will be strongest.

Rainfall accumulation from Tropical Storm Fiona is forecast.

A hurricane warning was issued for Puerto Rico, indicating hurricane conditions were expected, including the islands of Vieques and Culebra, and later expanded to include the eastern Dominican Republic, from Cabo Caucedo to Cabo Francis Viejo. The U.S. Virgin Islands and the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, from Frances Viejo west to Puerto Plata, were under a hurricane watch Sunday morning, meaning hurricane conditions are likely for the next 48 hours.

On Sunday morning, President Joe Biden approved Puerto Rico’s emergency declaration, freeing up federal resources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for emergency response and disaster relief efforts.

The threat won’t end once the storm passes between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic: The storm is expected to strengthen further, and the storm could become a Category 2 hurricane as it moves east of the Bahamas, where the government has issued a tropical storm watch for the southeastern Bahamas and Tropical Storm Watch or Turks and Caicos.

Tropical storms are possible late Monday or early Tuesday in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam contributed to this report.

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