Hurricane Fiona strengthened to Category 4 on Sept. 21 with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph winds as forecasters expect the storm to pass near the island of Bermuda later this week.
Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center (NHC), in an update, wrote that Fiona is moving directly north at around 8 mph. A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning are in effect for Bermuda, the agency said, while noting that interests in northeastern Canada should monitor the storm’s progress.
“This general motion is expected to continue through this evening. A turn toward the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected. On the forecast track, the center of Fiona will continue to move away from the Turks and Caicos today, and approach Bermuda late on [Sept. 22],” the NHC stated.
The Bermudan government is advising residents to prepare by checking water, medicine, and food supplies, and securing boats and homes.
By Sept. 24, Fiona—or remnants of the storm—will affect the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. While the storm will remain far away from the U.S. East Coast, the NHC warned about high surf conditions and dangerous rip currents at U.S. beaches.
“Swells will continue to spread westward across the southwestern Atlantic toward the northwestern Bahamas and the East Coast of the United States during the next day or two. Swells from Fiona are expected to reach Bermuda by early [Sept. 22],” the monitoring agency said. “The swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.”
Puerto Rico Devastation
An estimated 1.2 million homes and businesses remained without power in Puerto Rico early on Sept. 21 after Fiona slammed into the island on Sept. 18, causing an island-wide power outage for its roughly 3.3 million people. In addition to Puerto Rico, Fiona also wreaked havoc on the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos islands.
Poweroutages.com, which estimates power outages based on data from utilities, said 1.168 million customers were still without service on Sept. 21, based on what it called the limited information available from LUMA Energy, which operates Puerto Rico’s power grid.
The company said that a “full restoration could take several days.”
Five years ago, Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, which triggered the worst power blackout in U.S. history.
President Joe Biden spoke with Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi on Sept. 19, promising to add more support personnel sent to the island over the next few days.
“The president said that he will ensure the federal team remains on the job to get it done,” the White House said in a statement.
Reuters contributed to this report