Hurricane Fiona has made landfall in Puerto Rico, knocking out power across the U.S. island territory and raising fears of "catastrophic flooding."
The storm is expected to dump as much as 64 centimeters over portions of the island in the Caribbean.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin that Fiona came ashore along the extreme southwest coast, near Punta Tocon, at 3:20 p.m. local time Sunday. Winds were estimated at 140 kilometers per hour, making Fiona a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.
LUMA [[ lumapr.com ]] energy, the operator of the island's power grid, said on its website that "given the size and scope of the outage, as well as ongoing impacts of Hurricane Fiona, full power restoration could take several days." The company, however, said it had "the team, the tools, and the resources in place to respond to this event."
Meanwhile, flights out of the main airport have been canceled and ports closed due to the weather emergency. Ahead of the storm's arrival, some residents took shelter away from their homes.
Earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A statement said federal emergency aid has been made available to Puerto Rico and that FEMA is authorized to coordinate disaster relief efforts to alleviate the impact of the emergency.
Fiona's arrival comes five years after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico as a powerful storm. Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit the island in nearly 90 years when it came ashore in September 2017.
Weather forecasters also say Fiona is moving just west of Puerto Rico toward the Dominican Republic, where hurricane warnings and watches are in effect. Forecasters are also warning of catastrophic flooding and mudslides there.