Hurricane Fiona intensified to a dangerous Category 4 on Wednesday on its way to Bermuda, after devastating parts of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where at least eight deaths were reported. and a good part of the towns were left without electricity.
After making landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday, Fiona caused severe flooding and mudslides on the island and gained strength as it moved toward the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the two days that followed.
On Wednesday, Fiona was packing winds of up to 135 miles per hour and was expected to strengthen further as it headed north to Bermuda, although the current forecast does not see the islands taking a direct hit, the National Hurricane Center said. of the United States (NHC).
“On the estimated track, the center of Fiona will continue to move away from the Turks and Caicos Islands today (Wednesday), approaching Bermuda on Thursday night,” the agency said.
In Puerto Rico, where nearly half of the island’s 3.3 million people were still without water and 80% without electricity, authorities were trying to control the extent of the destruction and begin recovery.
At least eight storm-related deaths are being investigated, including the death of a 4-month-old baby whose mother was unable to get to the hospital in time due to roadblocks, said Dr. Maria Conte Miller, director of the Institute of Forensic Sciences. .
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has so far attributed four deaths linked to the storm in Puerto Rico. A fifth person perished in Guadeloupe earlier in the week.
The Bermuda Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for the archipelago, which is 600 miles east of the US state of North Carolina. The territory is likely to be hit by hurricane-force winds, depending on the storm’s track, he said.
An estimated 1.2 million homes and businesses remained without power in Puerto Rico as of Wednesday morning, according to Poweroutages.com. LUMA Energy has said full restoration of all 1.5 million customers could take several days.