"The President’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population and to provide appropriate assistance, to save lives, to protect property, public health and safety and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico," said the declaration.
Hurricane Fiona, a Category 1 storm, strengthened to become a hurricane on Sunday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The agency said a storm surge of 3 feet will be brought by the storm to Puerto Rico's coast. More than 20 inches of rain is also expected to hit parts of the U.S. territory.
“Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours while Fiona moves near Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and over the southwestern Atlantic,” the U.S. hurricane center said. “Hurricane conditions are expected on Puerto Rico today, and are expected in portions of the eastern Dominican Republic tonight and Monday.”
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) went to Puerto Rico to assist local officials.
“Thank you @POTUS for a swift approval of an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico,” wrote FEMA spokesperson Jaclyn Rothenberg on Twitter. “This will allow @fema to respond and support the island as they experience the extreme weather impacts of Tropical Storm #Fiona.”
“It has been surprisingly and freakishly quiet in the Atlantic,” University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told The Associated Press earlier this month. “For the first time since 1941, the Atlantic has had no named storm (e.g., tropical storm or hurricane) activity from July 3rd-August 30th,” wrote Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach on Twitter.