Puerto Rico is already feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Fiona as it nears the island and is forecast to get even stronger.
The storm is not expected to be as strong as Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island five years ago, but heavy rainfall is likely to batter the island for several hours.
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi declared a state of emergency Saturday, and power was cut during an emergency management conference to discuss resources.
“We ask for calm, but let’s be active,” he said during a press conference. “We are already beginning to feel its consequences. We must not underestimate this storm.”
Just over 52,000 people were without power in Arecibo, Bayamon, Carolina, Caguas, Mayaguez, Ponce and San Juan, according to LUMA Energy, which provides electricity to 1.5 million people.
According to Telemundo Puerto Rico, Pierluisi is advising residents stay in their homes and do not go outside, as flash floods are possible.
As part of the state of emergency, the government has allocated more than 500 million dollars for emergencies, the TV channel reports.
Fiona is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday as it moves near Puerto Rico, the National Hurricane Center said.
It is currently more than a hundred miles from St. Croix and is bringing heavy rain to the Leeward Islands.
READ MORE HERE: Hurricane warning for Puerto Rico, watch for Dominican Republic as Fiona approaches
Puerto Rico is currently under a hurricane warning, meaning tropical storm force winds are expected to hit the island in 36 hours, according to the hurricane center’s advisory at 2 p.m.
Puerto Rico could see 12 to 16 inches of rain, but eastern and southern regions could see up to 20 inches. Localized flooding and storm surge of 1 to 3 feet is expected.
This story was originally published September 17, 2022 at 11:32 am.