Tropical Storm Fiona threatens to become a hurricane as it lashes Puerto Rico with heavy rain

·2 min read
 (AP)
(AP)

Puerto Rico had a hurricane warning put in place as Tropical Storm Fiona gathers strength and threatens to dump 20-inches of rain on the island.

The National Hurricane Center issued the warning for the island on Saturday and stated that eastern and southern Puerto Rico could be hit by torrential rain, flooding, and mudslides.

Forecasters believe that the storm will strengthen to a hurricane, with winds of at least 74mph, by the time it is near or over the island on Sunday night.

Hurricane watches are also in place for the US Virgin Islands and parts of the Dominican Republic.

“Hurricane conditions are expected across portions of Puerto Rico Sunday and Sunday night, and are possible across the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight and Sunday,” the NHC said in a statement.

”Tropical storm conditions will continue to affect portions of the Leeward Islands today and will spread westward to the U.S. and British Virgin Islands later today, and to Puerto Rico tonight. Tropical storm conditions will reach the Dominican Republic by Sunday night.”

The NHC warned of the impact that the heavy rain may have on Puerto Rico.

“These rains are likely to produce flash and urban flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain, particularly southern and eastern Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic,” it stated.

 (AP)
(AP)

Fiona became a tropical storm over the Atlantic on Wednesday and entered the eastern Caribbean on Friday.

“We are already starting to feel its effects,” Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said at a news conference in which the lights briefly went out as he spoke. “We should not underestimate this storm.”

Puerto Rico’s power grid was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017, and its reconstruction has only recently begun. Around 37,000 customers on the island were already without power on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report