(CMR) Puerto Rico continues to reel from a total knockout of its electricity grid on Sunday as Hurricane Fiona made landfall devastating several areas.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said the damage on the island was catastrophic in several areas, calling it a “very delicate and sad situation.” Flash flood warnings continue in many parts of Puerto Rico ,which has led to overflowing rivers, NPR reported.
Luma Energy, the island's private electric utility, says full restoration of power service on Puerto Rico “could take several days.” Since Hurricane Maria in 2017, the power grid has not been fully restored and remains fragile.
Pierluisi said power crews have begun the effort to restore electricity, adding that it will be a “gradual process” to get the lights back on to critical areas including hospitals, which are currently on generators, and highly populated urban ccenters NPR reported.
Gov. Pierluisi promised that the restoration of power will not be like what happened after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and that the grid would at least partially up and running in days.
Rain is expected to continue all night in Puerto Rico, triggering at least 12 to 18 inches of rainfall across Puerto Rico and up to 30 inches in the island's eastern and southern regions.
The center of Hurricane Fiona made landfall near the cape of Punta Tocon in southwestern Puerto Rico at around 3:20 p.m. Eastern, according to the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane had sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and was moving northwest at a speed of roughly nine miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.
President Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday, which authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts.
The storm is headed toward the Dominican Republic and is poised to travel to the east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.