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Over $4 billion predicted in damages after Hurricane Fiona

By Nathalie Murillo

Houses submerged after Hurricane Fiona sweeps through Salinas, Puerto Rico. Courtesy to CNN.

Houses torn to the ground, new roofs blown off and millions are left without power or water for days as the first major hurricane of the year wreaks havoc over the Atlantic. The tropical cyclone reached category 4, claiming the lives of at least 22.

Marking the five year anniversary of the devastating hurricanes that left the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico and neighboring islands distressed, Fiona’s eye made landfall in southwest Puerto Rico after blowing past Guadeloupe this month. After being carefully observed, WMO officially named the natural disaster Hurricane Fiona on September 15th.

Hurricane Fiona satellite image on top of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Courtesy of NOAASatellites

Island-wide power outages, infrastructures washed away, thousands of homes destroyed were a few of the devastating effects the hurricane had on parts of the Caribbean caused by its torrential rain and flash flooding. The French territory of Guadeloupe suffered from roads and bridges being washed away as local rivers flooded, killing one man. 23 others were rescued by local rescue teams and emergency personnel.

Fiona left the French territory and gained momentum as its powerful center approached the southwest region of Puerto Rico. Pavements of roads were stripped naked as powerful rain waters rushed through the island. PR-123, a newly constructed temporary bridge after Hurricane Maria ravaged through the region, was demolished.

National Guard in Salinas looking to rescue locals. Courtesy of CNN.

Three days after its naming, the entire island of Puerto Rico was left without power, and millions without drinking water. Over $100 million worth of agriculture was lost consequently from the destruction Fiona led through the US territory. The tropical cyclones brought the worst flooding since Maria in 2017, causing the deaths of at least 16 people.

In the Dominican Republic, Fiona’s eye made landfall near Boca de Yuma. Fiona was the first hurricane the island saw in over 18 years, killing two and destroying over 8,300 homes. Over a quarter of a million left without electricity and even more without running water. Fiona reached its peak intensity sustaining 130mph winds near the island of Bermuda, who also experienced power outages.

Residents in Veron de Punta Cana, Dominican Republic stand amid destroyed homes. Courtesy to Spectrum News.

On September 24th, the hurricane became an extratropical storm as it progressed towards Eastern Canada where its major flooding washed away 20 homes and swept one woman into the ocean. Half a million were left without electricity.

The damage Hurricane Fiona caused is predicted to reach past $3-4 billion among the affected regions. Currently, nearly half of Puerto Rico is brought back to the traumatic effects of Maria as they still remain without power nearly a week after the hurricane swept through the region. Now thousands of people across the Atlantic are left watching their homes submerged in flood waters after another major hurricane mercilessly rips through the area.

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