The President of the United States, Joe Biden, approved this Sunday the declaration of a state of emergency in Puerto Rico due to the arrival of Storm Fiona. With maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour), the tropical storm has gained strength and is on the verge of becoming a hurricane as it approaches the island, which has already begun to feel some of its effects.
Puerto Rico electric company says it is “prepared” for the hurricane season
With this decision, the president ordered the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to carry out the necessary efforts to “save lives, protect property, public health and safety; and avoid a catastrophe in the 78 municipalities” of Puerto Rico. The US federal government will finance 75% of the emergency measures, the White House said in a statement.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC, in English) reported that Fiona is located this Sunday 105 kilometers (65 miles) southeast of Ponce (Puerto Rico) and maintains a westward movement at 13 kilometers per hour (8 miles).
The NHC maintains its warnings of possible hurricane conditions for Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra, as well as later for the Dominican Republic and the US Virgin Islands. The agency forecasts a northwestward motion through Sunday and Monday, followed by a north-northwestward turn on Tuesday.
After passing through Puerto Rico, Fiona is forecast to move near the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Sunday night and Monday, and near or east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.
The day before, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, announced that he had requested the declaration of a federal state of emergency hours after declaring the emergency at the state level.
Likewise, Pierluisi reported that there are already 79 open shelters (of the 365 enabled) with 101 people sheltered in 26 municipalities, with Guayanilla and Cabo Rojo being the ones that are hosting the most displaced people.
More than 250,000 subscribers in Puerto Rico, 17% of the total, have already suffered this Sunday the interruption of the electrical service due to the imminent arrival of the storm.
Puerto Rico has also activated the National Guard and has issued an executive order to declare the Dry Law in the face of tropical storm Fiona and the hurricane warning for the island.
So far this hurricane season (June 1-November 30), seven named storms have formed in the Atlantic basin, of which two, Danielle and Earl, have reached hurricane status.