Fiona is now the first “major” hurricane of 2022. As predicted, after drubbing Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the slow-moving storm has become a Category 3 hurricane.
As of Tuesday morning, her center was located near Grand Turk Island, the winds whipping up to 115 mph, which boosted what had been a Category 1 storm Monday to Category 3, according to Weather.com. It is expected to leave Turks and Caicos by Tuesday night.
Heavy rain is still lashing parts of the Dominican Republic, as well.
It is also expected to strengthen over the next few days. Damage will depend on the storm’s path. The next land potentially in its way is Bermuda, late Thursday into Friday morning, the report said. By Friday night into Saturday, Fiona could reach Atlantic Canada, including Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
It’s not clear whether she’ll still be a hurricane or if her force will wane to “an intense post-tropical cyclone,” Weather.com reported.
Hurricane Fiona is not expected to threaten U.S. land along the Atlantic Coast, though predictions are for high surf Wednesday through Saturday and the risks posed by dangerous rip currents. Those conditions can be perilous for those on the beaches.
CNN reported that as Fiona passes “near or west of Bermuda on Thursday night,” it could strengthen to a Category 4.
As the Deseret News earlier reported, rain gauges were measuring stunning amounts of rainfall in a short period of time. One near Ponce, Puerto Rico, got just over 32 inches from the hurricane, while nearly two dozen got a foot or more.
The New York Times reported that after its drubbing, Puerto Rico could be without power for days. “Now the island is once again in darkness, five years after Hurricane Maria inflicted more damage on Puerto Rico than any other disaster in history,” the Times reported.
The governor of Puerto Rico said the damage in the storm’s wake — and rain is still falling, though not as much or as hard — is “catastrophic,” according to a different New York Times story. It said that more than 1.2 million people were still without power there.
CNN noted that 1 million people in the Dominican Republic were left without running water.
Per the Times, “The storm was blamed for at least one fatality in Puerto Rico, where a man died while trying to operate a generator, government officials said. The man’s wife was severely burned, but survived, the officials said. Another death was attributed to the storm in Guadeloupe, which was struck by the storm on Saturday. At least one death had been attributed to the storm in the Dominican Republic.”
An update from CNN raised the death count by one, noting two people died in Puerto Rico.
Multiple reports said that 800 people had been rescued in the Dominican Republic and more than 1,000 in Puerto Rico.
Church News reported that “on the island of Guadeloupe, missionaries and members of the Church joined their neighbors to help after the brunt of the storm had passed. Donning yellow Helping Hands shirts and vests, the members checked on residents, distributed bottled water and started to clean up flooded homes in the cities most affected by Fiona.”
Experts warn that we can expect more storms as temperatures change. A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published in 2020 shows hurricanes are getting stronger. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the analysis examined satellite images going back to 1979. As The New York Times reported of that study, “warming has increased the likelihood of a hurricane developing into a major one of Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds greater than 110 miles an hour, by about 8 percent a decade.”