Tropical Storm Fiona Upgraded To Hurricane; Emergency Declaration Approved

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico shortly after Tropical Storm Fiona was upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday (September 18), the Hill reports.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for Puerto Rico, as well as the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, which includes areas between Cabo Caucedo and Cabo Frances Viejo.

The agency said the warning was issued because “hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 24 hours” and urged residents to take “preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.”

A hurricane watch was also issued for the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, which includes the areas between Cabo Frances Viejo and Puerto Plata, as possible hurricane-like winds could be present in the region within the next two days.

On Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm was expected to “move near or over Puerto Rico this afternoon or evening” and later moving toward the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Sunday night and Monday (September 19).

The agency also announced that Hurricane Fiona is expected to move near or toward the east of Turks and Caicos on Tuesday (September 20), according to NBC News.

Fiona’s winds have already been estimated to reach 80 MPH and are expected to increase during the next two days, which could lead to torrential rains, flash floods, mudslides and landslides throughout Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the National Hurricane Center announced.

Puerto Rico is expected to see an estimated 12-16 inches of rain, specifically in southern regions, while the northeaster coast of the Dominican Republic could get 4-8 inches of rain, according to the agency.

The British and U.S. Virgin Islands are expected to get up to four inches of rain, while Turks and Caicos could potentially get up to six inches of rain.

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