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    Hurricane Fiona: More than 1 million still without power in Puerto Rico


    September 19, 2022 - UPI Top News

     

      In shades of Hurricane Maria in 2017, more than a million people in Puerto Rico were without electricity on Monday after the island took a direct hit from Hurricane Fiona.

      Fiona slammed into the U.S. territorial island on Sunday afternoon and dumped heavy rains that buckled at least one bridge, opened sinkholes and caused severe flooding.

      Officials said that about 1.3 million people on the island still didn't have electricity by midday Monday. Loss of power is common following a hurricane and sometimes the outage lasts for weeks.

      Five years ago this month, Hurricane Maria damaged Puerto Rico's fragile power grid in similar fashion and began what would become a major disaster. Like Maria, Fiona caused mass power outages across the island.

      Luma Energy said that about 83,000 customers had their power restored by Monday morning. Several hospitals in San Juan's medical complex were among the places where power was restored, according to Puerto Rico Health Secretary Dr. Carlos Mellado Lopez.

      "I have just been informed that the electrical system in all hospitals in the Medical Center Complex has been restored," Lopez said in a tweet. "Our patients are safe and receiving the medical attention they require."

      To compound the power troubles, local media reported that more than 778,000 people are also without clean drinking water because rivers are running too high. Officials said 112 filtration plants need river levels to decrease to supply safe drinking water.

      Some locations in Puerto Rico saw more than 24 inches of rain from Fiona. Lago Cerrillos, in southern Puerto Rico, saw 28 inches and Ponce 26 inches.

      After hitting Puerto Rico, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic as it began to make a turn to the north toward Bermuda. The hurricane is expected to become a major hurricane on Wednesday. However, it is not projected to make landfall anywhere in the United States.

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