CAYEY, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Fiona blasted the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remained without electricity or running water and rescuers used heavy equipment to lift survivors to safety.
The storm's eye passed close to Grand Turk, the small British territory's capital island, on Tuesday morning after the government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas. Storm surge could raise water levels there by as much as 5 to 8 feet above normal, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Early Tuesday afternoon, the storm was centered about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north-northeast of North Caicos Island, with hurricane-force winds extending up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the center.
Premier Washington Misick urged people to evacuate. “Storms are unpredictable,” he said in a statement from London, where he had attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. “You must therefore take every precaution to ensure your safety.”
Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) and was moving north-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph), according to the Hurricane Center, which said the storm was likely to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Bermuda on Friday.
Rain was still lashing parts of Puerto Rico Tuesday, where the sounds of people scraping, sweeping and spraying their homes and streets echoed across rural areas as historic floodwaters began to recede.
In the central mountain town of Cayey, where the Plato River burst its banks and the brown torrent of water consumed cars and homes, overturned dressers, beds and large refrigerators lay strewn in people's yards Tuesday.
“Puerto Rico is not prepared for this, or for anything,” said Mariangy Hernández, a...