Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday, knocking out power for more than 90 percent of households on the island and bringing some of the most devastating flooding Puerto Rico has ever seen. Early on Monday, the storm’s path veered towards the Dominican Republic, causing major flooding there too.
The storm is expected to move west towards Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday and continue to strengthen to a category 3 hurricane by Wednesday.
“A final storm total rainfall for Hurricane Fiona of 40 to 45 inches in Puerto Rico would rival the all-time worst rainfall event in Puerto Rico history,” said Currently’s founder Eric Holthaus.
And the impacts have already begun to be grave. One person has died, and at least 1,000 more have been rescued from dangerous flood waters, across the island.
More than 1.3 million people across the island are without power, as of Monday around 9 AM, according to Power Outage US. The rain is expected to continue through Tuesday, after that, temperatures in the upper 80 degrees F (31 degrees C) will pose an additional hazard for those still without power.
Fiona’s effects are comparable to or worse than those of Hurricane Maria — which struck Puerto Rico almost exactly five years ago. The island was still recovering from the effects of Maria and is now once again under water.
Studies suggest, that increased rainfall during hurricanes is a direct result of climate change. As the climate warms, storms tend to move more slowly and have more intense rain bands — increasing the destructive and flooding potential.
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