Hurricane Fiona strengthened to a Category 4 storm on Wednesday after the destructionthen binding and . It is forecast to pass Bermuda later this week.
US National Hurricane Center he said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph Wednesday afternoon, centered about 650 miles southwest of Bermuda, and moving north at 8 mph.
It is likely to approach Bermuda late Thursday and then Canada’s Atlantic provinces late Friday. The US State Department issued advisory On Tuesday night, he is telling American citizens to “reconsider traveling” to Bermuda.
The storm was blamed for directly causing at least four deaths on its march through the Caribbean, where winds and heavy rain in Puerto Rico left most people in the US territory without power or running water. Hundreds of thousands of people were scraped from their homes by what authorities described as “historic” flooding.
Utility officials initially said it would take several days to fully restore power, but they appeared to back off late Tuesday night. As of Wednesday afternoon, three days after Fiona arrived on the island, roughly 70% of customers were without power, according to government figures.
“Hurricane Fiona has severely impacted electrical infrastructure and manufacturing facilities across the island. We want to make it clear that recovery and power restoration efforts are continuing and have been affected by severe flooding, impassable roads, downed trees, broken equipment and downed power lines, “, said Luma, a company that manages the transmission and distribution of electricity.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said, “I remain hopeful that by the end of today, a large portion of the population will have these services.”
The storm killed one man in the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe, another man in Puerto Rico who was swept away by a swollen river, and two people in the Dominican Republic: one killed by a falling tree and another by a downed power pole.
Two more deaths were reported in Puerto Rico as a result of the power outage: a 70-year-old man burned to death after trying to fill his generator with gasoline while it was working, and a 78-year-old man, police said, inhaled toxic fumes emitted by his generator.
The hum of generators could be heard across the territory as people grew increasingly bitter. Some were still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria, which made landfall five years ago as a Category 4 storm, killing one.
Luis Noguera, who was helping clean up landslides in the central mountain town of Cayey, said Maria left him without power for a year. Officials themselves didn’t declare a full resumption of service until 11 months after Maria hit.
“We paid an electrician out of our own pocket to hook us up,” he recalled, adding that he didn’t think the government would be much help after Fiona.
Long lines were reported at several gas stations across Puerto Rico, with some turning off the main highway to collect water from creeks.
“We thought we had a bad experience with Maria, but this was worse,” said Gerardo Rodríguez, who lives in the southern coastal city of Salinas.
Parts of the island received more than 25 inches of rain, with more falling on Tuesday.
By late Tuesday, authorities said they had restored power to nearly 380,000 of the island’s 1.47 million customers. Mains water was initially turned off for most customers on the island due to power outages and cloudy water at filtration plants, but 55% had service Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, the National Weather Service in San Juan issued a heat advisory for several cities as most people on the island of 3.2 million remained without power.
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency traveled to Puerto Rico on Tuesday as the agency announced it was sending hundreds of additional personnel to bolster local response efforts.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency on the island and deployed several teams to the island.
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he would push for the federal government to cover 100% of disaster response costs — instead of the usual 75% — as part of a disaster emergency declaration.
“We have to make sure that this time Puerto Rico has absolutely everything they need, as soon as possible, for as long as they need it,” he said.
Many Americans have not heard from family members who did not have electricity.
Palm Beach County, Fla. resident Nancy Valentin told CBS News, “I haven’t been able to talk to my mom and see how she’s doing.”
At Boston’s Logan Airport, those arriving from Puerto Rico shared their fears of drowning in Fiona’s flood waters.
Yolanda Rivera told CBS News, “We were in one room in a little corner that was safe, all night with no lights or nothing. The place was so dark.”
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, officials reported minimal damage and no deaths despite the storm passing close to Grand Turk, the small British territory’s main island, on Tuesday morning.
The government imposed a curfew and urged people to leave flood-prone areas.
“Turks and Caicos has had a phenomenal experience over the past 24 hours,” said Deputy Governor Anya Williams. “It certainly came with its share of challenges.”