Anchor Staff Writer
Sept. 18: Hurricane Fiona came with a vengeance that reopened the wounds of Puerto Rico initially made back in 2017, when Hurricane Maria left the island bleeding. What started as a Category 1 storm drastically transformed into a Category 4 as the hours went on. This left the entire island without power by the end of that same day.
As winds reached around 85 mph, citizens living on the island were ordered to evacuate. Puerto Rico’s governor Pedro Pierluisi made an executive decision that directed the Puerto Rican national guard to help secure the safety of the people. They were also warned to move to higher grounds, with many trees collapsing and bridges falling, especially those located in Utuado and Arecibo.
This hurricane dumped around nine to 13 inches of hourly rainfall to start, but some reports state that certain areas of the island witnessed the effects of 30 inches in the hour, causing too much flooding and not enough mercy. Many were left powerless, without water and no place to go. NBC News Reporter Nicole Acevedo stated, “The persisting rains have resulted in landslides, destroying roads and leaving dozens of families stranded across many different towns, including Juncos, Bayamón, Coamo, Toa Alta and Caguas, among others.”
Statistics report that around 1.5 million customers are still without electricity, as many power plants reported blackouts near the coastal areas. LUMA Energy is their main power provider, and has been working hard to restore power to the island. Many people were prepared for the storm, but no one expected this sort of outcome.
After almost two weeks since the hurricane hit, around 25 deaths have been recorded, at least those that can actually be linked to the storm. That’s not the only hit the island took. Pierluisi requested help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, asking, “to fully cover emergency response expenses for at least 30 days and then drop that reimbursement rate to 90%.” Fast forward to today, where many of the residents are left to fend for themselves and cross their fingers tightly, praying that the end of the hurricane season is near.
After leaving Puerto Rico to fend for its life, Hurricane Fiona hit the Dominican Republic, parts of Canada and Caribbean Islands Lesser Antilles and Lucayan Archipelago.