SAN JUAN (AFP) – Hurricane Fiona continued its slow and devastating march northward after slamming the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday and leaving a trail of destruction in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The United States (US) National Hurricane Center (NHC) said yesterday morning that the storm had grown stronger, registering maximum wind speeds of 130 miles per hour as it barrelled toward Bermuda.
The NHC said Fiona was 105 miles north of Turks and Caicos and had been upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane, the second highest level on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
“Swells from Fiona are expected to reach Bermuda by early Thursday. The swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the NHC said in its latest advisory.
At least five people have died as the storm churned across the Caribbean – one in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe and two each in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
“Hurricane Fiona has proven to be an unpredictable storm,” deputy governor of Turks and Caicos Anya Williams said in a broadcast.
Williams said no casualties or serious injuries had been reported in Turks and Caicos, but she urged residents to continue to shelter in place.
Blackouts were reported on Grand Turk and several other islands in the archipelago and 165 people were admitted to shelters, she said, adding that Britain’s Royal Navy and the US Coast Guard are standing by to provide assistance.