It has been a nearly silent Atlantic hurricane season so far.
A few storms have bubbled into existence and disbanded almost as quickly.
But with the end of summer days away and the start of fall on its heels, a hurricane has finally formed with land in its path. Hurricane Fiona, a category 1, marched its way across the Atlantic basin to reach cyclone status as it approached Puerto Rico.
As Fiona made landfall late Sunday, it brought with it 85MPH winds and up to 30 inches of rain.
With a season that has seen no tropical storms yet ample rain, the island was soggy and vulnerable, winds easily knocking power out to the whole of Puerto Rico.
Already full rivers swelled their banks and flash floods ravaged surrounding countryside as residents huddled in the growing darkness under Fiona’s lashing winds and rain.
Nearly the entire island has experienced flooding, with the hurricane center predicting 12 to upwards of 30 inches across the island nation. At least one gauge in Puerto Rico has already measured 25 inches of rain, with more to come. The center warned, “These rains will produce life-threatening and catastrophic flash and urban flooding across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, along with mudslides and landslides in areas of higher terrain.”
Images of catastrophic damage have filtered out from Puerto Rico, with hundreds of homes losing their roofs to high winds and residents seeking shelter from flooding.
Early Monday, the storm made landfall in the Dominican Republic with the same devastating effects of flooding and property damage. Next in line are the Turks and Caicos Islands and portions of the southeastern Bahamas by early Tuesday. It is expected to strengthen to a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) in the next 48 hours, just ahead of its closest approach to the Bahamas.
Those in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland should monitor closely as the storm passes the Bahamas, as the cone of uncertainty includes the most northeasternmost coast of Canada.