World Hurricane Fiona: More than 1 million still without power...

Hurricane Fiona: More than 1 million still without power in Puerto Rico

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Heavy rains and strong winds from Hurricane Fiona lash an area near Nagua in the Dominican Republic on Monday. Photo by Orlando Barria/EPA-EFE

Sept. 20 (BP) — More than a million people in Puerto Rico were still without electricity on Tuesday after Hurricane Fiona swept across the U.S. territory with powerful winds and drenching rains.

Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday and immediately impacted the island’s power grid. Monday, utility officials said 1.3 million people were without electricity. On Tuesday that number was just under 1.2 million, according to PowerOutage.us.

“We want our customers to know that [we have] been and will continue to work around the clock to restore power,” Abner Gomez, public safety manager at Puerto Rico utility company LUMA, said in a statement.

“We will continue to work nonstop until every customer is restored and the entire grid is re-energized. While these efforts continue over the coming days, we strongly encourage customers to continue to exercise caution and stay away from any downed power lines.”

Hurricane Fiona dumped more than 2 feet of rain on Puerto Rico before it moved to the west toward the Dominican Republic. The storm caused rivers on the Caribbean island to spill over and create severe flooding and landslides.

At the peak of the storm, Puerto Rico saw winds of more than 100 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in Puerto Rico to coordinate relief efforts.

“This is a disaster, honestly. The situation in this area is going to be very bad,” San German Mayor Virgilio Olivera said according to El Nuevo Dia, adding that the flooding has blocked many roads.

Meanwhile in the Dominican Republic, officials said that more than 700,000 people were without power Tuesday — and that dozens of aqueducts are out of service, leaving more than a million residents without clean drinking water.

Fiona strengthened into a major hurricane on Tuesday and headed northwest toward Bermuda. A storm is considered a major hurricane when maximum sustained winds exceed 110 mph.

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