AUSTIN (KXAN) — A history professor from the University of Texas at Austin returned Monday after Hurricane Fiona hit during his trip home to Puerto Rico.
Alberto Martínez said he decided not to cancel his visit despite the forecast showing the island in the storm's path. The hurricane ultimately knocked out power to the entire island and caused more than two feet of rain to fall over the weekend, resulting in potentially two deaths.
He said he especially wanted to stay to help protect his mother's apartment from the storm.
Fiona slammed Puerto Rico five years after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory, a storm which the island hasn't fully recovered from yet. It's reported more than 3,000 homes on the island remain covered by blue tarps after they sustained serious damage during Maria.
Following that 2017 hurricane, Martínez joined two other faculty members in creating a new group at UT Austin called the Puerto Rican Organization for Educational Support and Advocacy (PROESA). According to the group's website, the goal at that time was "to pull together any and all individuals at UT Austin who wish to support Puerto Rico’s recovery, and more broadly, to facilitate ways for persons interested in Puerto Rico’s culture, history, or economy to meet one another."
Martínez will join KXAN digital anchor Will DuPree Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. for a live-streamed interview about what he experienced in Puerto Rico and how people can now help provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Fiona. That live stream will be available to watch in this story and on the KXAN News Facebook page.
Hurricane Fiona strengthened into a Category 3 storm Tuesday and became the first major hurricane of the season, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm is currently bringing hurricane conditions to the Turks and Caicos. It may strengthen into a Category 4 storm by Wednesday.