Hurricane Fiona is churning towards the Caribbean archipelago as residents in the Dominican Republic have been ordered to take shelter on the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday. The Category 2 storm is strengthening and is predicted to become a Category 3 event by Tuesday afternoon with winds exceeding 178 kilometers per hour.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)has captured the extent of the hurricane storm, which looks angry from space. The images reveal the strength of the hurricane which is predicted to bring heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding in the Caribbean.
WATCH HURRICANE FIONA AS SEEN FROM SPACE
“Core of Fiona is expected to move near the easternmost Turks and Caicos islands early Tuesday. Heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding still occurring in eastern portions of the Dominican Republic,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its advisory.
Having caused a total blackout, killed at least two, and caused catastrophic flooding in Puerto Rico, followed by torrential rain and powerful winds in the Dominican Republic, Fiona gained power as it churned northwards across the warm Caribbean waters on Monday.
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The hurricane is on course to become the first “major hurricane” of the 2022 season if it becomes a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. The Associated Press reported that the National Guard has rescued more than 900 people as floodwaters continue to rush through towns in eastern and southern Puerto Rico with up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain forecast for some areas. Multiple landslides also were reported.
The blow from Fiona was made more devastating because Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island are still covered by blue tarps.
In Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, residents were still facing strong winds, frequent lightning, and heavy rain on Monday.
Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon, dumping up to 30 inches (76.2 cm) of rain in some areas, with at least two people killed. The storm comes five years after Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, which triggered the worst power blackout in US history and killed 3,000.