On Monday, Hurricane Fiona tore across Puerto Rico with pounding rain and gusts that caused mudslides, “catastrophic” floods, and an island-wide power loss.
Residents in San Juan were advised to leave for higher ground “immediately” by the local National Weather Service.
According to Richard Pasch, a specialist at the National Hurricane Center, “heavy rainfall and catastrophic flooding continue across much of Puerto Rico.”
Authorities in Puerto Rico reported the deaths of two people: a 58-year-old man who was washed away by a flooded river in the town of Comerio in the interior, and a 70-year-old man who was burned while attempting to use a generator. In the Dominican Republic, a person was reportedly killed after being struck by a falling tree.
Governor Pedro Pierluisi reported that more than 1,000 water rescues had been completed and more were in progress. More than 30 inches of rain fell on areas of Puerto Rico as the hurricane continued to pound the island even as it made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Monday.
Less than 10% of people had power back on Monday, and the size of the outage prompted LUMA Energy, a power distribution business, to issue a warning that it might take several days to fully restore power.
Late on Monday, LUMA and other power distribution firms attempted to recover services for more than 200,000 consumers throughout the island in an effort to restore power.
Two-thirds of households and businesses, or more than 800,000 users, according to the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, are without access to drinking water. Before the storm made landfall on the U.S. territory, the whole electrical grid collapsed, leaving no one with energy.
*image does not represent the actual scenario.