HAVANA – Tropical storm Fiona threatened to dump up to 16 inches (41 centimeters) of rain in parts of Puerto Rico on Saturday as forecasters placed U.S. territory under hurricane observation and people were prepared for potential landslides, severe flooding, and power cuts.
The storm had previously hit various eastern Caribbean islands, with one d*ath reported in French Guadeloupe territory. Regional Prefect Alexandre Rochatte told reporters on Saturday that the body was found on the side of the road after floods washed away a home in the capital Basse-Terre. More than 20 other people were rescued in strong winds and rain, which left 13,000 customers without electricity.
Fiona was 145 miles (230 kilometers) southeast of St. Croix on Saturday morning with 60 mph (95 km / h) max steady wind. It was moving west at a speed of 13 mph (20 km / h) on a path that was to pass near Puerto Rico. Forecasts warn Fiona may be close to hurricane strength as it passes through Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Fiona is expected to bypass the Dominican Republic on Sunday as a potential hurricane, and Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Monday and Tuesday with the threat of extreme rainfall.
The Forecaster has posted a hurricane observation for the south coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engaño west to Cabo Caucedo and for the north coast from Cabo Engaño west to Puerto Plata.
In Puerto Rico, authorities have opened shelters and closed public beaches, theaters and museums, encouraging people to stay indoors.
“It’s time to activate your contingency plan and contact and help your loved ones, especially older adults who live alone,” said Dr. Gloria Amador, who runs a nonprofit health organization in downtown Puerto Rico.
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At least one cruise ship visit and several island flights were canceled, while authorities in the eastern Caribbean islands canceled the school and banned people from engaging in water sports when Fiona hit the region.
In the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, authorities said they had experienced wind gusts of up to 120 km / h that could have been considered a Category 1 hurricane. They also said 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain had fallen in three hours in the Gros Morne area.
Fiona, the sixth storm named after the Atlantic hurricane season, was expected to bring 13 to 25 centimeters of rain in eastern and southern Puerto Rico, and as much as 41 centimeters in individual locations. Rains of 10 to 20 centimeters high, 4 to 8 inches, and in places up to 30 centimeters were predicted in the Dominican Republic. Life-threatening waves were also possible from Fiona’s winds, forecasters said.
Meanwhile, the tropical storm Lester in the eastern Pacific is on a projected path that could lead to landfall near the Acapulco area on Mexico’s southwest coast on Saturday night.
Lester was expected to remain a tropical storm until it hit the Mexican coast. Forecasts warned of the potential dangers of heavy rains.
The storm had a maximum sustained wind of 45 mph (75 km / h) late Friday. It was centered 110 miles (180 kilometers) southeast of Acapulco and was moving northwest at 10 mph (17 km / h).
From Puerto Escondido to Zihuatanejo, there is a tropical storm warning. The hurricane center reported that Lester could drop 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain off the coasts of upper Guerrero and Michoacan, and that isolated areas could reach 12 inches (30 centimeters).
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