A hurricane warning is in effect For Puerto Rico, mirroring forecasters’ expectations, it will strengthen to a hurricane — with sustained winds of at least 74 mph — by the time it is near or over the island Sunday night.
Hurricane watches are in effect for the US Virgin Islands and parts of the Dominican Republic, the National Hurricane Center said.
Heavy rain and wind lashed Fiona, Guadeloupe and other islands in the northeastern Caribbean on Friday and early Saturday, while the Caribbean was centered on St. Louis in the US Virgin Islands. Croix, 90 miles south-southeast, as of 2:00 p.m. Saturday, the center of the hurricane. he said
It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, just outside the 74 mph threshold for a Category 1 hurricane, though it is expected to strengthen as the weekend progresses.
The outer bands were already hitting parts of the Virgin and Puerto Rico by early Saturday afternoon, causing showers and storms. According to PowerOutage.us, more than 42,000 homes and businesses were without power in Puerto Rico as of 3:00 PM ET.
“The center of Fiona is expected to move near or south of the Virgin Islands (Saturday) afternoon, approach Puerto Rico (Saturday night) and move near or over Puerto Rico Sunday night” before moving near the Dominican Republic on Monday, the hurricane said. said the center.
The storm “is likely to be near or at hurricane strength as it moves near Puerto Rico,” the hurricane center added.
One of Fiona’s biggest threats is mainly the rain expected to fall In Puerto Rico: 12-16 inches generally, with 20 inches in isolated areas.
“These rains are likely to cause flooding and urban flooding, along with mudslides over higher ground, particularly in southern and eastern Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic,” the hurricane center said.
The tropical storm, including winds of at least 39 mph, was expected to reach the U.S. and British Virgin Islands beginning Saturday evening and spread across Puerto Rico Saturday night.
Hurricane conditions were expected in Puerto Rico Sunday and Sunday night, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are possible Saturday night, the hurricane center said.
The storm could also reach hurricane strength when it passes over or near the Dominican Republic on Monday, forecasters said.
Fiona became a tropical storm over the Atlantic on Wednesday before entering the eastern Caribbean on Friday.
Expectations of heavy rain
Here’s how much rain is expected in certain locations over the next few days, according to the hurricane center:
• The Leeward Islands, including Guadeloupe, and the northern Windward Islands: 2-4 inches above what they received before.
• British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico: 4-6 inches, with isolated areas of 10 inches.
• Puerto Rico: 12-16 inches, with isolated areas of 20 inches.
• Dominican Republic: 4-8 inches, with isolated areas of 12 inches, particularly on the east coast.
• Haiti: 1-3 inches, up to 4 inches isolated.
• Turks and Caicos: 4-6 inches.
A flash flood watch is in effect through Monday afternoon for the U.S. Virgin Islands and parts of Puerto Rico, the National Weather Service said.
Storm surge of 1 to 3 feet on Puerto Rico’s southern coast – ocean water pushed ashore. Storm surges of 1 to 2 feet are possible for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the hurricane center said.
This is the first time in more than three years that Puerto Rico has received a hurricane watch or warning. The last time was in August 2019, when Hurricane Dorian passed the island as a Category 1 storm.
A number of tropical storms have passed over the island since then, but the last one of Hurricane Dorian’s strength passed within 50 miles, CNN meteorologists said.
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico nearly five years ago: it arrived as a Category 4 storm on September 20, 2017, killing several thousand people and knocking out the aging power grid, leaving more than a million people without power or water for months.
CNN’s Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.