Fiona, now a Category 4 hurricane, is wrecking its way north, while leaving a trail of destruction behind it. The first major hurricane of 2022, it has done great damage to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos.

And it’s not done — it is, in fact, getting stronger.

Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said that Hurricane Fiona’s sustained winds have reached as high as 130 mph, while gusts have peaked at 155 mph as it leaves Turks and Caicos behind on the way to Bermuda at week’s end. The advisory said the storm is chugging along at about 8 mph with those incredible winds, which are expected to strengthen.

Bermuda has both a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning in place.

Atlantic Canada is being told to pay attention and “monitor the progress of this system.”

Swells from Fiona are expected to reach Bermuda by early Thursday and while Fiona will not touch the U.S. mainland, those swells could impact the East Coast. The advisory notes that “swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” wherever they occur.

Weather.com is reporting that “widespread damaging winds, flooding rain and coastal flooding are expected in Atlantic Canada.” The article predicted “at least a brush” with Bermuda and “a likely pummeling of parts of Atlantic Canada in the coming days,” with the biggest hit by Saturday and continuing into Sunday.

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“A triple threat of damaging winds, flooding rain and storm surge are all in play in parts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia,” Weather.com said.

In a travel advisory, the U.S. government has told Americans to skip plans to go to Bermuda right now. It also “authorized the voluntary departure” of families of U.S. government employees there can leave the island ahead of the storm. It also noted that Bermuda currently has a high level of COVID-19.

A future problem brewing?

Meanwhile, another potential storm is getting the attention of weather watchers in Florida.

WESH.com reported that meteorologists are “keeping a close eye on a tropical disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean” that could damage Florida if it develops. Invest 98-L is several hundred miles east of the Winward Islands. But the National Hurricane Center said that “the system continues to show signs of organization and it will likely become a tropical depression within the next two or three days. The disturbance is forecast to move west-northwestward across the southern Windward Islands by late today and then move toward the central Caribbean Sea later this week.”

The center said there’s a 90% chance that will develop into a significant weather system in the next five days.

Fiona’s deadly trail

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Five people have died as Hurricane Fiona trampled islands, including two deaths in the Dominican Republic, one on Guadeloupe, and at least two in Puerto Rico.

CNN catalogued some of the physical damage Fiona’s left behind: Puerto Rico’s power grid was knocked out and more than 1,000 people had to be rescued. Flooding has been intense in parts of the island. In the Dominican Republic, the hurricane caused “devastating flooding” and left “critical water and power infrastructure damage in its wake.” Turks and Caicos was “battered” by winds that held steady at 125 mph, and parts of the islands “experienced island-wide power outages, including Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, according to Deputy Gov. Anya Williams.”

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Officials were warning that tide levels could be as much as eight feet above normal, posing extraordinary danger to anyone venturing onto the beach area.

Only about 10% of power had been restored by late Tuesday in Puerto Rico, where the damage is extensive. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a press release Monday announcing that officials were working with Puerto Rico’s governor to assess damage. It noted that “FEMA deployed one national and four regional Incident Management teams and two Urban Search and Rescue teams to augment the hundreds of FEMA personnel on the ground. The additional staff will help bolster the government of Puerto Rico’s response efforts.

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